Kiren Sangha’s week as a housing assistance officer at ALMO Wolverhampton Homes has involved getting repairs organised, sorting the socially distanced collection of a telecare device, arranging home adaptations and trying to enable patients to leave hospital
I attended a meeting with social workers to see how we can help with any housing issues. Today we discussed a customer who needs help with repairs. It is my job to find out the correct tenancy officer for that particular area, and then ring and explain to the officer what concerns the social worker might have. Sometimes the tenancy officer might be unaware of any issues as the client might not want to speak up – this is the good thing about these meetings as we work together to ensure the customer is not forgotten about and gets the support they need. It’s all about building relationships and supporting other partners through working together.
Today I’ve worked with the telecare team to arrange collections of their equipment. We might need to organise a collection if the customer has moved into a home and no longer needs to use the telecare service, or if they have sadly passed away. I made a call to a customer’s family member and arranged a date and time for collection. Over recent months we have also had to add new procedures for collections as it’s important that we make sure the property is COVID-safe before anyone from the team attends.
We started the day off with a Teams meeting where we discussed any issues or concerns we might have. Wolverhampton Homes implemented agile working more than a year ago, so we find Teams is a good way to keep in touch and check on each other’s well-being. We all come from different working backgrounds so it’s good to get advice from one another as we will often approach things in different ways.
Later on in the day I did an assessment over the phone for a customer who has been struggling in their property. The assessment normally takes about 30 minutes when you’re there in person, but doing it over the phone takes a bit longer. I then raised the assessment with our independent living team – a team of occupational therapists who make assessments for larger adaptations. They will then call the customer directly to make a visit and see how they can help.
I attended a Teams meeting with the Clinical Commissioning Group and our local hospital which provides inpatient mental health services. In this meeting we discussed people who may be ready to leave the hospital but are unable to due to their property not being suitable for them to return to with their current needs. It is my job to help with the transition of them moving back home – this is not an easy or a quick task, as we have to take into account the customer’s mental health and make decisions with the team to see if they are safe to return home. We also work alongside the city’s New Cross Hospital to help with freeing up beds. This can be something quite simple, for example a customer might not be able to go home because they are waiting for a key safe to be fitted which the carers can access. We can book in the key safe installation really quickly through our in-house handyperson service so patients can be discharged home safely and release a bed for somebody else who needs it.
As a team we also work alongside the Disabled Facilities Grants team at the council. I have a customer who I like to keep in touch with and follow up on how the grant for his application for an extension is coming along. This customer’s child is autistic, so just a quick phone call to let him know I am here to help makes him feel like someone cares and is listening to him. The extension will be a major adaptation to his property and will have a hugely positive impact on his son’s life, while still making it a home for everyone else who lives there.
Working during this pandemic has made me realise how much I really enjoy my job. Along with many of my colleagues at Wolverhampton Homes, I’ve been a ‘volunteer shopper’, supporting people across the city with essential shopping. People have been so grateful for the help and we’ve had so many letters of thanks, it makes me proud to be a part of it all.
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Our ‘A week in the life…’ series features housing professionals talking through what they do in their job on a day-to-day basis.
Find out about the different challenges housing workers in a variety of roles face in a given week.
We aim to feature staff from housing associations, ALMOs, local authorities and more.
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