A team of 13 specialist staff have been praised for helping their council tenants reclaim £200,000 in benefits and for dealing with anti-social behaviour cases well.
Staff and tenants at Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH) are celebrating after the housing organisation’s support service was assessed as outstanding by the national body, the Centre for Housing and Support, at the end of 2018.
The watchdog gave a nod to staff for effectively managing anti-social behaviour cases, officers commended staff for well managed confidentiality and the process for managing complaints was deemed 'robust and effective'.
Northampton Partnership Homes’ support service are a team of 13 specialist staff, support and welfare professionals, who are experienced in helping people who are struggling to manage at home.
Cases range from mental health support, visiting older people, working with care leavers and supporting victims of domestic abuse. Support also includes budgeting and managing finances and helping people claim benefits.
They also spend time each week meeting up with their 300 clients, listening to them and making sure they get the help they need from outside support services.
Since March 2017 the team has also reclaimed in excess of £200,000 in benefits for people who weren’t in receipt of their full benefit package at the time.
Joe Kavanagh is one of those to seek help from the support service. He was a successful businessman but the loss of his company, his family home and his mother in a short space of time was the tipping point for his struggles with alcohol dependency.
After suffering a stroke, Joe confided in a neighbour who advised him to get help.
He said: “I was always someone who thought I can deal with all the issues on my own.
"I realise now that it is important to talk about how you feel. It made me realise that I had to do something.”
Joe’s support worker Andrea visits once a week to help Joe with life at home, keeping up with payments on his utility bills and putting him in touch with support services to beat his addiction.
Joe said: “I don’t think I’d be in the position now if it wasn’t for the help.
"Andrea is a good listener. I can talk to her and she understands”.
Joe is now caring for a young cat called Guinness who lives with him and he is looking forward to spending more time with family in 2019.
Claire, who didn't want to give her surname, is another to benefit from the support she received from the service. Claire lost her job working in teaching after battling with mental health.
She got behind on her rent and through a meeting with her rent income officer she met support worker Kelly.
She said: “Kelly has helped me, and fought my cause. She helped me with phone calls [about my benefits] and filling in paperwork. She helped me claim backdated payments”.
Claire has recently moved home to be closer to her family. She added: “I was living in a flat in the town centre, but I was having difficulty getting out of the flat.
"Kelly helped me move closer to my family, where I am now. She knew I wanted to be in this area, and moving in she helped me with finding furniture through a charity.
"She kept everything moving along. The support was ideal for where I was at the time”.