*This article was written before the outbreak of COVID-19*
The Greater Manchester Housing First Workers are on the frontline every day, to ensure the people we work with are getting the support they need.
In this edition, Riverside’s Simon Partington talks about his work covering a large patch in the Manchester City Region.
“It’s Tuesday and I have started the day going on street outreach, as I’m concerned that I couldn’t getting hold of a person that I am supporting through Housing First because he isn’t answering my calls.
“I’ve already been to his home, but there is no answer, so now I’m on my way into the city centre visiting areas where I know he frequents, but unfortunately I can’t find him.
“I have left messages with other outreach agencies, his drug worker, GP practice and the chemist he uses asking them to contact me if they see him.”
“For my next appointment, I’m on my way to a multi-agency meeting to discuss how best we can work together to support a person who has recently moved into his own tenancy.
“He had been sleeping rough for a few years so it is important to ensure that we are all working in the same direction.
“The person is present at the meeting, and was able to express how he wants to be supported by the different organisations involved in the support.
“Giving people choice and control is an important principle (one of seven) of the GM Housing First model.
“My next action of the day, I am pleased to receive a telephone call from a drug worker, they are letting me know that the missing person I was trying to locate earlier had turned up at the surgery in some distress as he had lost his keys.
“I’m now on my way to meet the person as well contacting his housing officer to sort out an emergency lock change. I arrange to meet the locksmith at the tenancy to ensure the changeover goes smoothly.
“Now I can return to town with the new set of keys and hand them over to the person. He is extremely relieved and thankful for the support.”
“My last appointment of the day is attending the property of a person we have supported to move into his own tenancy.
“He is having new carpets fitted. He had chosen the carpets himself, so it is refreshing to see how pleased he is to be able to create a home to his own tastes and standards.
“A major part of my role is to support people to not only access housing, but to enable them to make it their home.
“Finally, it is back to the office and do the necessary paperwork before logging off for the day.
As a Housing First worker we work to the seven principles for GM Housing First and they are:
People have a right to a home
Flexible support is provided as long as it is needed
Housing and Support are separated
Individuals have choice and control
An active engagement approach is used
People are supported to identify their strengths, goals and aspirations
A harm reduction approach is used.
This ensures that the people we are working with are at the centre of their recovery journey.
I’ve worked in the sector for a long time and helping people to improve their situation and life chances are why I do the job.