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Tenant sign-ups, welfare checks, coffee and chocolate – it’s all in a day’s work

Shona works as a Supported Housing Officer in our Single Homeless Support Services. Hear about her typical day as she helps with the day-to-day needs of some of our tenants who, without the help of Shona and her colleagues, might not have a place to call home.

7am to 9am

7am and I woke up a bit bleary-eyed due to a late night last night.

It’s not always easy to unwind after a late shift so I stayed up later than I should have considering I was on an early shift today. A nice strong decaff coffee and catch-up on the news did the trick. The boy got up under his own steam this morning, but I had the usual knock on the bathroom door.

One of these days I’ll get a shower in peace!

At least he got up in time for his long commute to the kitchen table.

8.10am and I set off for work. The roads were fairly quiet due to school holidays, pity it’s not always like that.

Having arrived at work, the kettle was already on, I have such considerate colleagues. There wasn’t much to hand over, three of our nine tenants had stayed out last night. One of them had been out four nights now though so I made a note to contact her today to make sure she was safe. I also made sure the social worker knew too as she had gone missing before.

One of the outreach tenants had texted the scheme mobile to ask if they could have some support with a council tax bill, I made a note to deal with that later in the day.

9am.  There weren’t many emails overnight, so I checked my calendar for the day. It looked to be a busy one. I had a new sign-ups to do this afternoon and a couple of support sessions booked in. But first there were the weekly rent letters to do, checking that the housing benefit was all in place, as well as the service charge letters that needed sending out.

10.30am to 1.40pm

10.30 Phew! Rents done for the week.

I had to email the housing benefit team to enquire about a missing payment, and complete a tenancy transfer for one of the tenants that moved  a couple of weeks ago. There’s only one tenant on notice for non-payment so we’ll have to speak to him to check if he’s got any issues with his benefits.

A new lad came to the office and wanted a food parcel so I made a referral to Huddersfield Mission. It will be delivered tomorrow. They are going to raise a repeat order for him until his benefits come through.

I honestly don’t know what we’d do without these guys.

One of the girls came to say that her sink was blocked, I gave her some gloves and the plunger to try to sort it herself. She later returned to say it didn’t help so I emailed repairs. I had some time before my first appointment of the day so I checked the sign-up paperwork for this afternoon and checked that the room was all ready. It looked spick and span, the bed was all nicely made up and ready to go. Finally sent out a few texts to arrange support sessions later in the week.

11.15am and no sign of my 11 o’clock appointment. I rang and texted him, but there was no response. The noticeboard said he’d stayed out last night. I felt quite frustrated as he’d missed the last few appointments. I updated his client notes and made a comment on the handover sheet for staff to have a word with him and give him a warning about his attendance.

11.45am. I telephoned the girl who had been staying out. She was fine and had stayed at mum’s to help look after her siblings, as mum wasn’t feeling well. She said she’ll be back tonight and will come and speak to staff then. I reminded her that she is only meant to be out for three nights and she needs to be letting us know if she is away longer.

12.15am. I rang the outreach tenant to see if I could help with the council tax issue but there was no answer. I sent her a text to say when her key worker will be on shift, updated her client notes and emailed her key worker to let her know.

12.30pm – 1.40pm. My new tenant turned up on time for her first key work appointment. This made me very happy.

We carried out her initial support assessment. It was a good session; it gave me a chance to get to know her a bit and for her to get to know me. She seemed a very quiet girl and really keen to take up the support we offer. It was quite a long session, but I didn’t mind, it was really useful and she felt it was too. I put a reminder in my calendar to type up her outcomes and action plan tomorrow. I left her with a couple of tasks for the week and agreed a meeting for next week.

Just had enough time to grab a quick sandwich and deal with a few emails before the sign up at 2pm. Added another few tasks from the emails to my calendar for later in the week. Sent our new coordinator an invite to go through some induction stuff with me on her next shift. I’m really impressed with how quickly she is picking things up.

2pm to 4.45pm

2pm and a colleague came on for the late shift. A quick handover done before new sign-up arrived with his social worker. He liked the room and said he was surprised how nice it was. (I made a mental note to talk to the coaches about promoting a more positive image of our project).

Sign-ups always tire me out. They take quite a long time, but everything was signed and the lad left to pick up his belongings. I completed a referral for a food parcel for him as he has no benefits in place yet.

3.30pm. Updated the handover sheet, client notes and risk assessment for the new guy and mentioned to my colleague that his housing benefit claim still needed to be done. I had done everything else.

4.20pm and home time. The day flew by again.

4.45pm. Home at last, via the shop for chocolate. The boy had already finished for the day and gone out. I ignored the sink full of dishes, crawled onto the sofa under my blanket and nodded off for half an hour.

I find a quick nana nap essential some days.

The rest of the evening was spent making tea, doing the dreaded pile of washing up, chatting with my neighbour over the fence, getting work stuff ready for tomorrow. Finally crawled into bed to watch an episode of my latest Netflix box set before starting it all again tomorrow.

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