The Coronavirus has fundamentally changed the way we do business, while trying to help the most vulnerable people in society.
We caught up with Greater Manchester Housing First Work Marc Sunderland who revealed how he and the team are helping people while adhering to Government guidelines.
A lot has changed recently. As frontline workers, we are used to being flexible and responsive to meet the needs of the people we are supporting but have now had to adapt to a completely new way of working.
Covid-19 has forced us to change the way in which we deliver the Housing First programme – we are now restricted to providing phone support and conducting essential visits only.
Tenancy sign-ups are still going ahead but the practicality of this has become very challenging.
With so many of the services that we have come to rely on now closed, there is a need to get properties tenancy ready with limited resources available. Information sharing and joint working between the team has been key and drawing from our diverse knowledge base has proved invaluable during these unprecedented times.
Our team try to do a group video chat every day. We find that sharing the workload, exchanging ideas and discussing cases is really beneficial, not just to provide a great service, but for motivation and staff moral too.
Furniture provision has been an area of great concern. Supply chains have broken down, deliveries have stopped and welfare provisions have been put on hold.
There is not enough food in the food banks to go round and so we are really having to reiterate the importance of budgeting, now more than ever.
We are promoting digital inclusion in order to communicate, but a lot of people do not have phones or struggle to keep hold of them, so this is never straight forward.
We are also noticing an increase in tenancy management and neighbourhood related issues – as people are spending more time at home and unable to go about their day to day lives as they normally do.
On a positive note, we are seeing that services are also adapting the way they work, and are finding ways to continue to do what they can. It’s clear to see that everyone is really pulling together inspiring each other to push on through.
What we have found is that this lockdown experience can differ significantly from one person to the next and the ability to cope often depends on what stage in the recovery process people were at before the crisis began.
For those in uncertain situations, their vulnerabilities can become heightened and for some, their circumstances deteriorate.
We are facing new challenges everyday and must continue to follow government guidelines, practice social distancing and help each and everyone of the people we support to adapt to this new form of reality.