Case Study 1 : Project Worker
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Written by: Trina Wallace
Name: Natasha Phillips
Organisation: Stonham, a division of Home Group Ltd housing association
So, what do you actually do?
I work with single homeless people aged from 18 to 65. They may have issues with money management, substance misuse; mental health; domestic violence; or offending behaviour. I work within a supported housing project so the individuals either live in the project or in our move-on accommodation situated nearby.
My role is to support and empower individuals to regain control over all aspects of their life. Ultimately, the aim is for them to move into independent accommodation and to sustain a tenancy. I have to assess why the person became homeless and try to address these issues to prevent them from losing their home again.
Did you need any specific training or qualification?
I have a degree in law and social policy which has been useful in my job but a great deal of it comes down to experience. I started as a temp here but had done various work placements including one at a women's refuge, another at the Citizens Advice Bureau, and at a homeless hostel.
There are no set qualifications needed to work within supported housing. My colleagues come from a variety of different educational and employment backgrounds. This helps the project immensely because we deal with a diverse client group.
What kind of personality is best suited to this job?
You definitely have to be a people person with a lot of patience. Flexibility and adaptability are great characteristics to have. You need to be able to work on your own initiative and under pressure as well as working within a team. However, the most important asset is a good sense of humour it helps you survive the day!
What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
When we have to deal with disruptive individuals. Situations where quick thinking and justified responses are needed can be quite challenging, especially if you're working on your own. It can also be quite challenging when individuals disagree with what support you believe they need. When someone is refusing or disengaging from the services offered, it can be very difficult to re-engage them.
Any top tips for someone wanting to get into this work?
If you haven't already got experience of working with vulnerable people, get some through volunteering or by joining a recruitment agency. An NVQ in supporting independence or a GNVQ in health and social care are great vocational qualifications that give you a good grounding for front-line work in this area.
Tel: 020 7549 0000