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For our latest staff spotlight, we caught up with Supported Housing Officer Tom to talk about what he loves most about his role at Priory Court.

What does your role involve?

The role is very varied. You can be dealing with emergency situations one minute and helping someone sort out long-term housing objectives the next. The main focus is face-to-face interaction with the service users, to build up the trusting relationship that lets you work together to solve whatever needs they may have. You will spend a lot of time working directly with social workers and other professionals in Zoom meetings and face-to-face, some of which is really rewarding particularly when it all goes well.

What inspired you to become a Supported Housing Officer?

I was homeless from the age of 14 and ended up in supported housing after being passed from foster placement to foster placement and never finding somewhere that was the right fit. The support workers who worked with me at the time were absolutely fantastic and they truly turned my life around. Now that I am in a position where I am able to give back, I felt like it would be a good time to start.

What are the top three personal qualities your role requires?

The top three qualities required for a Housing Support Officer, I would say, are:

Patience
Empathy
Attention to detail

When you are managing 7 or more caseloads at any one time, you need to ensure that you are keeping on top of all of the work that is required for all of your caseloads. Things can easily fall through the cracks if you aren’t paying attention, particularly when there is a lot going on.

What has been a highlight of your career with Elim so far?

Joining Priory Court as the COVID pandemic has come to an end has allowed me to work with girls as they have finally been able to blossom and move on. When there are successful move-ons, where all the existing support needs have been addressed and they’re excited to start the next chapter of their lives, it really makes all the hard work and hours feel worthwhile.

Can you tell us about some challenges you face in your role and how you overcome them?

It is really easy to become quite emotionally invested in the cases that you work on. You develop quite a close relationship with the residents and when things go badly for them you can feel it quite personally as well. This has been the most difficult thing to wrap my head around so far, but I think that emotional engagement with the residents is part of what makes the role so rewarding in the first place. What you are doing, day-to-day, really makes a difference to their lives. It counts in a way that few other jobs do.

What do you get out of your role with Elim?

When things go well for residents it is so rewarding and pleasing to have been a part of that journey. Working with them to clear debts and manage their relationships with professionals involved with them, it is fantastic to see them reach a point where they are able to stand up on their own two feet knowing they are ready for the big wide world. It can be a slow process, but once you get there it is fantastic to see.

Any advice for someone looking to get into a career in housing?

If you’re looking to get into a career where you can truly make a difference to the day to day lives of vulnerable people, and go home satisfied that what you are doing actually matters, then a career in housing is something you should definitely consider.

It feels great to be able to give back and share my own experiences in a way that benefits people who are going through some of the most difficult periods of their lives.

 

If you'd like to consider a career in housing, head to our current vacancies page here.


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