Tammy's blog I Looking out for those who might be struggling
Our Executive Director and safeguarding lead, Tammy Bradley, shares her thoughts on why it’s imperative that we look out for signs that someone might be struggling and needs support.
"As a sector, we are acutely aware of the extremely challenging times many of our tenants are experiencing due to enduring hardship, caused by the rising cost of living.
"Our first and foremost role as a social housing provider is to ensure that we provide safe and secure homes for our tenants. An equally crucial role, however, is to have systems and processes in place to support those most in need and those living in isolation in our properties. Our customer-facing colleagues make the best use of opportunities to ‘spot the signs’, proactively ‘listen’ to our tenants and take time to understand the bigger picture when making what can be a routine visit or call. It can sometimes make a huge difference to someone’s wellbeing; it can sometimes be the difference between a life-or-death situations.
"In colder months, some families have been afraid to turn their heating on because they don't know how they will cover the costs. Some are using a microwave for all their cooking, some are visiting a relative’s home to wash every day; or they are boiling a kettle for hot water.
“We strive to offer help and support to our tenants in any way we can. Many of our colleagues do this daily through their routine work, some without knowing it. They go above and beyond to help tenants who have reached crisis point. It is reassuring to know that we have great people working with us who truly embrace our values and care about our tenants; it makes me proud to work in social housing.
“We have robust systems and processes in place to support our tenants, while our expertise and intuition helps us to understand the challenges they are facing right now. Here are a few examples of how we offer support:
Annual gas servicing – we do this in person to ensure we speak to the tenant and carry out welfare checks. We also conduct follow-up welfare checks on all our gas-capped properties.
Safeguarding alerts - we look out for these when we’re visiting properties to carry out repairs and maintenance, compliance, tenancy visits, or when we receive calls to our customer contact centre.
Independent Living and RWP scheme visits – these visits are carried out face to face.
Support meetings with tenants - we hold these regularly.
Our employment support service – we have one-to-one meetings and host weekly, face-to-face job clubs.
Tenant involvement activities – these include community doorstep chats, events, clean-up days, tenant meetings, and activities to tackle loneliness.
Community safety – we review this with a case management system
Tenancy management – this includes arrears management checks, six-week tenancy visits and hoarding support
Tenancy fraud audit – this involves checking contact details, occupants of properties and direct debit failures.