A Day In The Life Of HARP's Rough Sleeper Coordinator
Jennie started off as a volunteer in our day centre, helping to sort donated items and serve breakfast, getting an insight into HARP’s work and enjoying the interaction with HARP’s clients. When Jennie was ready for a more permanent role, she started working on the Day Centre reception before becoming a Support Worker and then taking on her current role as Rough Sleeper Coordinator.
What does your role normally involve?
I support the five people who make up the Intensive Support Team, which works with around 30 clients within the community at any one time who may need extra support with either sustaining their tenancy or finding more appropriate accommodation.
We also currently manage the five bed spaces in the rapid assessment hub, which aims to get people from the street into longer term accommodation as quickly as possible. We work intensively with each client, working closely with partner agencies to ensure that they have access to the support they need for their physical or mental health, addiction recovery and other issues that may have contributed to their homelessness. Due to the intensive nature of the work, we are able to help clients move on to more suitable accommodation more quickly, continuing to support the client even after they’ve moved if needed.
How has your role changed with Covid-19?
The staff team were split into two groups who worked on different days to ensure that the service could continue to run if there were concerns over COVID symptoms and isolation. Thankfully we have still managed to support all our clients face to face throughout the pandemic, whilst ensuring that we are adhering to national guidelines at all times.
Our clients have needed our support more than ever during this difficult time particularly as some other services may have closed or put face-to-face support on hold. It became even more important to ensure that clients did not feel isolated.
The team have been involved in providing Covid testing to our clients and we also helped with the recent vaccine roll-out which had a fantastic turn out from clients.
Even though we have all felt the effects of the pandemic in our own personal lives, the team has still been just as supportive to our clients. I am extremely proud of the team.
What’s the first thing you do when you get in?
The first thing I do when I arrive at work is to check the overnight reports to see if anything urgent has come up with our clients that needs to be addressed straight away. I also check to see if the Outreach Team have brought in any new people who were rough sleeping overnight and ensure that they have been assigned a case worker so that their support can commence straight away. I then speak to the team and check their caseloads for the day and ensure they have the appropriate support and resources required and plan the day ahead, checking if I have any meetings, supervisions or case reviews.
What are the most interesting parts of your job?
A great thing about this role is that no day is the same as we need to deal with situations as they arise. I love being able to meet people from all walks of life, with varied backgrounds and experiences. I enjoy being able to work with partner agencies as well as the wider HARP team and being able to support individuals to make positive changes in their lives.
What’s the most satisfying thing about your job?
Being part of an organisation that is able to make a positive impact on an individual’s life. We have been working with some complex cases including people who have been rough sleeping long-term. To see them engaging and making positive progress is very satisfying. For example, we had two clients who had been extremely hesitant to accept accommodation with us but they have both since said they don't actually want to leave.
We now have a Mental Health Practitioner and an Advanced Nurse Practitioner who work alongside our services, which has made it so much easier for clients to access services supporting their basic needs as well as longer term healthcare.
What do you love most about working for HARP?
I love working for HARP as I believe in what the organisation stands for. I believe that we need to look at the bigger picture of why someone has become homeless and it’s important that we address these issues on an individual basis as no two cases are the same. I love the fact that a client is given opportunities and support to move forward with their lives and that we can support them to realise that they have a future to look forward to.
I also love working within a team who have the same values and passion as I do to support individuals and reduce homelessness and rough sleeping within the local community.
I see first-hand how someone can turn their life around with the appropriate trauma informed approach to support. I am proud to be part of the team and to work for HARP.