As I reflect on the last 12 months and realise the huge challenges the people that our pilot supports have endured during the Covid-19 pandemic, my mind also drifts to the huge amounts of resilience and hard work put in by our delivery partners.
Our frontline staff have risen to every challenge that Covid has put in their way to support a huge number of people to find and sustain their own tenancies.
I’m also acutely aware of the stress that the last year has caused for our workforce not only in their work but also in their home lives too.
With this in mind, It is more important than ever to give our workers the protected time and space to reflect on their practice, share challenges and concerns and work together to overcome barriers.
Last week, we began our second series of practice forums focused on the seven Housing First principles.
This time round we have the added benefit of 12 months’ worth of Quality Assurance information gathered quarterly through the various QA activities.
We can really focus on what the QA process is telling us by sharing practice across the partnership and address some of the challenges being experienced by workers from all 10 local authorities.
Although these forums are still delivered virtually they give workers a chance to speak with staff from other delivery partners and realise that some of the challenges that we face are not just in their local authority areas.
The opportunity to come together to find ways to overcome these challenges is so important for the development our pilot and the wellbeing of our workforce.
Going in to the third and final year of our pilot, I’m exploring ways of maximising the impact of our work through training with external partners and agencies.
I’m busy working up a plan that provides information and education on some of the ways of working that have been developed through offering support to people whilst maintaining high fidelity to the seven Housing First principles.
We want to ensure that after the end of our pilot the lessons learned and the huge amount of progress that we are making is not lost and that Housing First can continue to benefit the vulnerable people of Greater Manchester for years to come.
These sessions will not only help us to reflect on how we operate, but will give our experts on the frontline the chance to bring their knowledge to the table so we are able to continually improve our service offer to keep developing the pilot for the better.