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Emily's blog - Extraordinary people doing extraordinary things in extraordinary times

Hello and welcome to my April blog.

Well a lot has happened externally since my last blog reflecting on Year One.

I never imagined we would be starting of Year Two of delivery in lockdown due to the outbreak of a virus. The COVID-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on the delivery of all services and Greater Manchester Housing First is no exception.

For a service that is predominantly delivered by intensive face-to-face support delivery teams have had to change how they continue to support people on the programme using telephone support much more and reviewing what is essential contact only providing where required following social distancing guidance.

This has been a big change not only for the people on the programme but also the Housing First Workers who are used to being out and about and seeing the people they support regularly.

It has been incredible how quickly the delivery teams have managed to adapt and change their approach ensuring people are still receiving the support that they need, teams have really pulled together and it’s been great to see.

The people we are supporting have also responded well to receiving more telephone support, but it’s vital we continue to review this and ensure their voices are captured throughout this pandemic.

Even though there has been a reduction in face-to-face support provided we view supporting people to sign up and move into new homes of their choice as essential contact and it is absolutely incredible that so far there have been 10 sign ups supported during this lock down phase.

It is so important, now more than ever, we are helping people into homes in order that they have somewhere safe to self- isolate and be able to follow Government guidance.

This is all possible thanks to the registered providers and the delivery teams adapting their practices in order that people can still view and sign up to properties whilst following social distancing guidelines.

The practicalities of moving someone into their own home have not been without challenge; getting void works completed; sourcing furniture and delivery; sorting out utilities and getting keys cut have all posed new issues to overcome during lockdown.

Moving forward we are currently reviewing and planning how we can carry out our big recruitment drive virtually; re-profiling outcomes in this new context; ensuring we capture the voice of people on the programme throughout this to support and feed into transition planning as we come out of this situation and reviewing how the current situation has impacted on service fidelity.

We are reviewing and changing all aspects of delivery and our original plans in response to the pandemic, which is a challenge however it is in times like this that innovation happens and organisations adapt to be able to deliver and I am confident we are and will continue to adapt and work flexibly to provide the best possible service we can during the imposed confines.

I want to finish by saying a huge thank you to all Housing First Workers; Team Leaders and housing staff that are working to ensure people are supported and get through these difficult times, its inspirational and I am really proud of everyone involved in this partnership.


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