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Housing Manager in transition - 2
6/15/2013 12:21:17 AM
14th June 2013
I chaired a sub regional task group on Wednesday whose brief was to describe a transparent Housing Pathway for young adults with learning disabilities with challenging behaviour. There is a lack of clear advice for young adults, their parents and support network, on the key steps to access housing and support. A number of key ‘gates’ emerged: the social care assessment, joining the housing register and referral to the local supported housing panel.
A parent on the task group stressed how important this advice was as early as possible i.e. at the age of 12-14. That is the age that some parents have to decide that their child’s needs will be better met at a residential school rather than at home. What a painful decision for any parent to take.  Parents and advocates currently see the housing and social care systems as a difficult maze not a clear pathway.
I am receiving frequent requests for advice on housing and support from care managers and parents where an existing arrangement has broken down (e.g. the young person has fallen in with a bad crowd in the locality or the current care provider has been suspended because of an adverse safeguarding finding). It is critical that the next move is successful for their wellbeing, and that means putting organisational needs (including  void targets!) to one side, instead focussing ‘ruthlessly ‘on the individual’s needs.
Housing Manager in transition
6/11/2013 10:29:19 PM
I have decided to start a weekly blog. Not sure who will be interested, but I am interested in describing my journey, started 4 years ago, taking my housing ’offer’ from mainstream housing into the world of social care.
This transition all started so promisingly. My first housing role in the world of social care was providing housing solutions, on behalf of a PCT, for adults with learning disabilities living in unsatisfactory accommodation. I had influence as capital programme project manager, i.e. the capital backing of a PCT with the determination to rehouse 62 individuals within 2 years. My main delivery partners were housing associations, some large mainstream others were the non registered housing arms of social care providers.
I soon learnt that traditional housing management, of the type espoused by the large mainstream housing associations, and the type I had learnt over the past 30 years, was not enough. I realised I had to change the tools in my toolbox. Top quartile KPIs, policy on repairs timescales and responsibilities, value for money strategy, recharging for tenant’s damage - seemed inadequate when responding to the housing needs of people with profound learning and physical disabilities. Question: Which of my traditional housing skills did I value the most? Answer: tenant consultation, improving services continuously, identifying and meeting housing needs, property adaptations, treating people as individuals with unique needs and wants.

Over the coming weeks I will be describing my experience of working as a housing manager in the social care sector - my achievements, challenges, lessons, highs and lows.
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