Although gaining housing is a brilliant first step for a lot of our clients, there is often a lot of work then needed to support them in maintaining their accommodation or if they are hostel based moving through the system into more appropriate accommodation.
This is where our rough sleeper navigators play a vital role in guiding clients through these steps, we chatted to Christopher Ward, our Rough Sleeper Navigator based in Weymouth about his role:
What is a rough sleeper navigator?
A rough sleeper navigator is a support worker for those accommodated after getting support from our outreach teams when they were street based.
What sort of support you offer to your clients?
We work in supported housing, hostels and clients’ own homes supporting them with the bidding systems, managing their tenancy and property, we would source funding to help our clients purchase the essentials for their home also.
The Bidding is Dorset home Choice, where our clients housing needs are assessed, they will then be able to bid against available properties that they have been approved for such as 1 bed flat, if they are successful, they can move into the property.
We also to continue to support our clients with physical and mental health engagement and day to day living to ensure they are comfortable with tasks we take for granted, money management, electoral role, shopping, making and attending appointments, employment and education.
What is the most difficult part of working as a navigator?
The most difficult part of our work is bringing together the right support agencies in a timely manner that benefits our clients most, this may be due to processing time, availability of referral and assessment time.
What challenges do your clients face that you can support them with?
Our clients many barriers with things we take for granted, for instance, the freedom to private rent accommodation as Landlords consider them unsecure, which we can help find appropriate accommodation for them.
Our clients need to attend appointments with REACH which is the drug and alcohol support agency and CMHT is the community mental health team, to which we may fund travel and support them during meetings.
Chris also shared with us one of his successful cases, Chris’s client who had complex needs with regard to mental health, had been evicted several times from different properties until Chris and other agencies looked into other ways of providing the best mental health and humanistic support to ensure that they could provide the client with a more stable and secure accommodation. By working with these agencies, they have managed for this client to relocate successfully and provide a ‘home’. After 3 years of continuous support, there is now hope for this client to reintegrate into society and to manage these problems with minimum support in the future.