Why Housing Matters 2018
Housing Matters 2018 - Stories from our Service Users
ODEL Involve, in conjunction with Engie (a large Manchester based construction company), hosted ‘Construction Skills Certification Scheme’ (CSCS) training to local Flintshire residents, in order to enhance the employability of those who wished to work in construction.
The course was fully accredited by the CITB, and students who attended the three day training were eligible to be put forward for their CSCS test (paid for by Engie). Day 2 and 3 comprised CSCS training, with the first day concentrating on Health and Safety in the workplace, which is a mandatory, and vital element of the qualification.
A total of 18 SU’s attended CSCS training during Q1. They were referred from a variety of sources including Clwyd Alyn Housing Association and other supported living projects, Mold and Flint Jobcentres, Coleg Cambria, Communities First, ADTRAC as well as Flintshire County Council support workers.
All of the attendees were out of work vulnerable Flintshire residents. All though were united by a desire to enhance their ‘job ready’ skills in order to one day work in construction.
Eleven of the eighteen passed both the course and of those four went on to secure full-time employment and another one starting a work placement! ODEL Involve will further support those other clients who have yet to find work opportunities in the building sector, giving many their first taste of work.
Following his completion of the course, supported living resident AG completed work experience on a Clwyd Alyn/Engie Extra Care site in Wrexham.
Through this experience, enhanced employability and his new-found confidence AG has now been able to move on from a local support living residence and has now secured full time work as well as his own tenancy.
These courses have made a real difference in terms of helping Flintshire residents engage in employment and training and to improve their job ready skills, thus, is perfectly aligned to Supporting People outcomes.
ML and BF
ML and BF were referred to ODEL Involve by JM, a Flying Start Health Visitor.
The young couple and baby daughter, had recently moved from the Wirral, and did not have any form of Housing Benefit in place, despite the fact they were both out of work. The couple did claim Disability Living Allowance, but wished to transfer to Universal Credit, to receive the extra money they were entitled to (UC Housing Element, UC Child tax credits element).
ML and BF initially missed two appointments at the ODEL office in Flint, undeterred staff contacted the young couple to check on their welfare, and to ask if they wanted a home visit. It later transpired that a combination of anxiety and disorganisation had made the couple miss their appointments, and they appreciated the ODEL service ‘not giving up on them’.
RE and PH visited the couple at their new home, alongside Flying Start Health visitor JM, who was attending as extra support for the couple.
RE and PH signed ML and BF up to Universal Credit using a tablet device with mobile data. This gave ML and BF a clear view of the process, which was also explained to them throughout. Both commented that they would have found the online registration for UC almost impossible without the help of ODEL support staff.
Once the Universal Credit application was finished PH and RE booked MG and GF appointments at Flint jobcentre and advised what ID documents the couple would need to bring.
At the initial Universal Credit appointment, a week later, PH attended alongside the couple to support them (they were very nervous) and to explain the process, as it can be overwhelming and confusing for many. PH also ensured that the couple received the maximum advance payment they were entitled to, as there is currently a five week period where claimants receive no money after a Universal Credit claim.
Thanks to ODEL’s intervention the couple are now on the relevant benefits for their circumstances, and are able to cope financially. They now have financial help with their rent, and will receive assistance from the Jobcentre to get back into work or training in the future.
CG and NP
CG and NP have recently moved to a two bedroom flat in Flint with their four month old baby. It is the first time the couple have lived together independently, and they were struggling financially, especially so since NP lost his agency job.
RE from ODEL supported the couple to access an Individual Assistance payment from the Discretionary Assistance Fund. This payment helped the couple financially, easing some of the pressure they were experiencing.
RE also referred the young couple to Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP), who took a food parcel to the couples flat, but also offered a befriending service, vital for the couple in their time of need. The SVP service even invited the young couple round for a curry, which from feedback we have received, was gratefully received by the couple!
ODEL staff referred the couple to the FCC Housing team within the Connects office in Flint, for assistance with completing a Discretionary Housing Payments application, to top up the housing element of their Universal Credit claim.
The measures that ODEL implemented, alongside effective signposting to external agencies, has allowed the couple to effectively manage their tenancy and prevent their issues escalating to homelessness, whilst assisting them to manage their money. NP has even found work once again, and with the financial measures put in place, the couple are far better prepared to succeed.
Furthermore, ODEL Involve plans to work alongside SVP, by conducting joint visits to the couple, to check their welfare, and to support them with any future issues that may arise.
Recently widowed DA was struggling to deal with a billing query with BT who were demanding she pay a very large phone bill. Having recently lost her husband, DA was very distressed and upset and the added stress of trying to call BT to resolve the matter was causing even more emotional upset and turmoil. DA, knew she had made additional calls at the time of husband’s illness but could not understand why she was being charged quite so much money and was referred to ODEL Involve by a family member to see if anything could be done.
As DA lived in a more rural location and did not drive, support worker RE visited DA at home and contacted BT on her behalf as well as supporting her to write a letter of complaint to BT and the communications ombudsman. DA was very distressed due to her recent bereavement, and this assistance from RE was greatly appreciated.
After further phone calls and follow up to the letter, BT eventually agreed, that on compassionate grounds and the inadequate way her queries had been dealt with on previous calls, that they would refund her the additional cost of the calls.
DA was refunded over £380.00, and praised the persistence of RE, as BT had been very reluctant to change the bill before her intervention.
RE’s involvement not only helped MA financially, but also emotionally, and corresponds perfectly to SP outcomes 1,2 and 6.
VC was a referral from JM, a Flying Start Health Visitor. She was originally referred to the service for debt guidance, and due to the high level of debt she was experiencing, was signposted to the CAB for assistance with a DRO.
During this support it transpired that VC was also struggling to attend college due to the costs of childcare. Support worker RE used her knowledge of the available agencies in the area to refer VC to PACE. PACE supported VC to receive free childcare whilst she was studying, a great help to a single parent, on benefits, with aspirations to gain qualifications and increase his employability.
This effective signposting allowed VC to continue with her course and eased financial pressure she was experiencing. Intervention from ODEL Involve has meant VC hasn’t had to give up on her dream of being a nurse, and effective signposting from ODEL staff has led to VC receiving support from two support agencies she may not have been aware of.
After the excellent support VC received from RE, VC contacted ODEL Involve again a few months later. VC had lost contact with Sandra from PACE, and was being charged a tenancy renewal fee, which she couldn’t afford.
Support worker SH immediately contacted VC’s letting agency and informed them of VC’s financial situation. The letting agency upon receipt of this information were then happy to waive the renewal fee, much to VC’s relief.
SH also liaised with PACE, to rekindle the relationship between provider and Service User, to allow VC to continue being supported.