Aims and Objectives
- To prevent homelessness
- Enhance the wellbeing of vulnerable adults
- To facilitate positive, sustainable changes in the lives of clients and communities, working to their agenda, at their pace, and to outcomes that are meaningful to them
We will deliver this service by providing four core ingredients:
- immediate, responsive interventions to make the client, safe, secure and housed, and their income protected.
- structured one-to-support; supporting people to sustain their tenancy and develop their life skills.
- access to a range of added value activities and wraparound services, assisting people to develop a sense of well-being and participation in community life; fostering confidence and self-belief.
- post support, ensuring the client’s achievements are sustained.
This project will provide a support service to people threatened with, or experiencing homelessness. The project will also feature specialisms for supporting people with substance use difficulties, people leaving prison, refugees, and people whose homelessness experience is exacerbated by other contributory elements such as, poor physical or mental health and domestic violence.
1. Immediate interventions
We are an existing provider of this service, supporting circa 80 units. Based at our Head Office [Customs House, Swansea], the team are highly skilled and experienced support workers, who specialise in protecting ‘at risk’ tenancies. A vital part of the project is assisting clients to be secure at home, and have an income. Crisis intervention work includes attending court to prevent homelessness, and making applications for homeless prevention fund, and discretionary housing payment.
Substance use, poor health and people leaving prison are common referrals to our project. We have established excellent working relationships with the Probation Service and Drug agencies. People with addictions are supported during referral to specialist health agencies, and assisted in harm reduction activities. We feel that this, multi-agency approach provides the best access to support for service users, enabling us to reach more “hard to reach clients”.
2. One to One Support
Our work begins with the premise that people’s problems and deficits are things that they experience, and not a part of their identity. We believe that the client is the best expert in their own life, and that they have inherent resourcefulness, strengths and abilities, which they can draw upon to institute desired change in their thinking and behaviours. We do not make judgements about the client’s situation, choices or beliefs.
The team will assist the client to describe the purposeful change they want in their life. Throughout the course of support, the client’s primary goals will remain a core focus, twin tracked, alongside the purpose of the SP grant; i.e. enabling independent living.
Our service delivery model, is based on principles of ‘solution focused working’ [SF]. We endeavour to construct narratives that are useful to the client, are led by them, working to their aspirations, at their pace, noticing progress at every opportunity and amplifying their inherent strengths and resources.
The SF approach is distinctive, in being fully non-directive; the practical goals are set up in a co-productive way with the client, as part of support. The support service is aimed at the client’s movement towards these goals. This means that there are intermediate outcomes arising during the process of change, in addition to end goals.
SF is a socially constructed model, rather than a medical one, as such, it is suited to the arena of support work. It is a highly skilled practice and we have been training and developing our front-line staff in the approach since 2010.
3. Practicalities, Activities, Forums and Groups
Many aspects of our support work are practical in nature. Our support services include a range of value added activities that can foster, confidence, self-esteem, and involvement. These wraparound services, forums and groups include; health and well-being, leisure, social, educational, and arts and crafts. Core to all support services are practical, engagement activities that assist clients toward more sustainable outcomes:
Current Activities: -
- Assists clients to gain knowledge and understanding in regards to benefit system changes (e.g. Universal Credit) by providing IT tuition.
- Provides access to in house courses; e.g. basic life skills, confidence building, budgeting
- Delivers Outreach services throughout Swansea to provide advice, information, sign posting and referrals to professional services. Examples: debt, mental health, physical health, housing, employment/ volunteering and training
- Facilitates client focus groups; forums where clients have their say and celebrate successes
- Provides links to other specialist services e.g. the Retreat project supporting sex workers and Connect community centre for people recovering from Mental Health problems.
- Assists clients to foster positive relationships with housing providers, housing options, benefit section at the civic centre dealing with HB/CTR, District Neighbourhood Officers
- Provides advice and information on managing tenancies and resettlement.
Planned wraparound service developments: -
We have committed to a series of (non SPPG funded) investments that will add value for Commissioners and significantly enhance the offer to clients of the Swansea Tenancy Support Service, by providing into work support, personal development, financial and digital inclusion.
- We will recruit an Employability Skills Worker, who in addition will develop a peer mentoring service, and a volunteer programme. The driver for this investment was identified through client and staff consultation.
- We are developing a dedicated, WiFi enabled, Client IT Hub at Customs House, where Clients can drop – in and go on – line to seek and apply for jobs/ training, make claims for Universal Credit, seek advice and support and learn IT skills.
- We are working with The Wales Co-operative Centre to explore how to further develop our work providing digital inclusion and financial inclusion, to tackle poverty in Swansea.
- Post- Support
Due to the growing demand from clients for ‘post – support’, the team has changed its practices and will continue to actively provide post – support when support formally ends. This ensures that ex - clients can confidently, continue to live independently. Historically, many clients need assistance with benefit issues or have been unable to maintain their rent following welfare reform, leading to an increase in the number of evictions for arrears. We are implementing a “monitoring system” which will enable us to review what happens to individuals post support. After a 6 -month period staff contact the service user to see if they have sustained the necessary skills to live independently. It also enables us to measure the extent to which support has prevented these former clients from becoming homeless in the future.
The core service, 100 units, will be staffed by a team of 7, using a staff to client ratio of approximately 1:15. This will include a Senior Support Worker who will have an anticipated caseload of 10. The service will be available from 08:00 – 18:00, Monday to Friday (exc. Bank Holidays). The service will benefit from our cross project, unified 24/7 On-Call service. Clients will therefore always be able to get a response in a crisis.
We invest significantly in staff development (as set out in our Workforce Development Plan). All employees have access to a comprehensive training programme, are supported in self-directed learning and are encouraged to participate in organisation-wide activities such as the annual staff conference.
In the course of delivering successful floating support services across South Wales, we have demonstrated our ability to manage fluctuating demand in size and geography of caseload. To maximise the flexibility of delivery, both in terms of number of units and “lot” geography, we will employ effective HR planning techniques, including: increasing part–time hours, flexing workers’ caseloads, inter–project secondment, use of relief staff and calling on our excellent relationship with our temporary staffing agency. If there is acute additional demand from the TSU, the Area Manager can take on a temporary caseload and current practice is to provide immediate short–term support/crisis intervention to prevent imminent homelessness.
Monitoring and Continuous Improvements
Caer Las has recently introduced two initiatives to improve the recording of project based activity and data collection, and to drive up our quality standards across the piece. On April 1st 2017, we implemented ‘In-Form’, a case management software system developed by Homeless Link. This has significantly uprated our ability to capture client data, produce reports and analyse progress. We are also well advanced in the achievement of ISO 9001: 2015 accreditation. This has facilitated the standardisation of processes across the organisation, with emphasis on quality of client experience, contract and regulatory compliance, and creating an organisational culture of continuous improvement from trustees to the front-line staff.
Business Continuity Plan
Caer Las has a corporate Business Continuity Plan, which is continually updated. The project has its own emergency plan which is updated quarterly. These documents form key elements of the organisation’s system for managing risk. The corporate risk register is monitored and reviewed six monthly by the Directors and the Board of Trustees, to ensure that business continuity and risk planning are scrutinised as part of the organisations’ governance procedures.