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27 Jun 2016

Annabel’s June Blog

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A day in the life of an Assessment and Reconnection Worker

 

9am

I start my shift on a high note when Ashley tells me that he has been accepted to a local authority’s hostel while he awaits permanent accommodation.  Like many of our clients, Ashley had been part of the ‘hidden homeless’ community before ending up on the streets.

Ashley lost his job and was evicted from his flat. He has stayed with numerous friends and family for over a year before he finally had nowhere else to turn and started to sleep rough. He has no underlying support needs beyond being homeless. As his benefits are not yet in payment, I arrange a travel card for him and wish him well.

10am

I spend the next hour and a half convincing Sophie not to abandon the hub to go back to the streets. Sophie is particularly vulnerable because of her dependence on substances, but like many of our clients, it is unlikely she is vulnerable enough to be determined ‘priority need’ by the local authority and offered housing assistance as a legal right. We also suspect that she has serious mental health problems.

Sophie was on the streets for over a year before a street outreach team were able to find her and refer her to a hub. In that year her health has deteriorated, her addiction to substances has deepened, and she has lost all of her documents. In the end I convince her that she is more likely to get the help she needs with us rather than out on the streets on her own, and she stays in the service.

11.30am

I complete as much of a 28-page referral to a local authority housing scheme for Mohamed as I can. When clients arrive at our service we complete a very comprehensive assessment of their housing history and support needs, so I have a lot of the information I need. I then go through the form with Mohamed making sure that the answers I have given are correct.

I discuss his case with him and explain that there are several people ahead of him on the waiting list for this scheme, but I think it is worth the wait in order to get him the support he needs. He is understanding and agrees that this is the best way forward.

2.30pm

With Sophie’s consent, I spend much of the afternoon approaching various agencies for information about her contact with them. We need as much evidence as possible of her links to various areas to make the case to the local authority that they ought to assist her.

I also refer her to an NSNO staging post for client with complex needs so that if she is not moved on quickly, she will have her own room and bed while she awaits a resolution.

4pm

My day ends with helping to run a private rented sector workshop with our Case Co-ordinator. This workshop takes place in the hub with clients whose quickest and most sustainable route out of rough sleeping is to secure their own tenancy.

The workshop covers how to find accommodation, how much housing benefit they are entitled to and how to sustain the tenancy once they secure it. This is a very interactive presentation and clients chip in with their own experiences and tips.

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I really enjoy working at No Second Night Out. Every day is different and challenging; there is certainly no staring at a computer screen pretending to be busy! This is a very fast-paced service with a high throughput of clients so there are always new things to learn and new skills to develop.

It feels great to empower people to move forward in their lives and it is always lovely when people move on into their own accommodation. Our clients have usually been let down in the past by different services and we are a crucial step in their turning their lives around.

All names have been changed to protect client confidentiality

 

 

 

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