Our client is seeking a Housing Options Officer on an initial 2 Month contract with the possibility of an extension.
Working Hours: Monday - Friday, 35 Hours
Pay Rate: £13.38 P/H PAYE
To establish links with Link and external agencies that assist households at risk of homelessness, and to identify single person households as well as families at risk, with the aim of preventing them from becoming homeless. To provide high quality casework advice and support services to households at risk of homelessness, including coaching work, working primarily with family households. To establish working relationships with other teams undertaking homelessness prevention work, such as Merton’s Housing Options Team, and SPEAR’s Fresh Start service which covers non-priority single homeless households as part of the Tri-borough Trailblazer Project. To obtain and collate high quality and detailed client information in order to meet the data requirements of the government, in preparation for the enactment of the Homelessness Reduction Act.
Duties and Responsibilities:
* Work with external agencies to identify and agree a list of homelessness risk factors, and to develop procedures for these agencies to refer at risk cases of family households to the Housing Coaches Team, and single ‘non-priority’ households to SPEAR’s Fresh Start Service.
* Work with Link to identify appropriate triage cases to be targeted for homelessness prevention casework by the Housing Coaches Team and SPEAR’s Fresh Start Service.
* Deliver high quality casework advice and support services to family households at risk of homelessness, providing advice and assistance that cover welfare benefits; education, training & employment; and support services that cover crisis intervention; tenancy sustainment; advocacy; as well as coaching work that cover aspirational & motivational work; confidence building, encouraging independence and future planning.
* Develop and agree Housing Plans for at risk households, working closely with the clients concerned and involving advice and support agencies, clearly setting out milestones and actions to be undertaken by clients to reach the set milestones. Homelessness prevention intervention options should be included where appropriate.
* Conduct regular case panel meetings to review caseloads and track progress of cases against actions and milestones, and to refer cases to Housing Options Team if further homelessness prevention interventions are required or if a homelessness application becomes necessary.
* Attend all relevant meetings of the Housing Needs Division, tri-borough meetings and working groups, as well as appropriate Trailblazer Project briefings organised by the DCLG.
* Keep accurate and up-to-date case file records capturing all data required by Housing Needs Division and by the government, and to input data onto required IT systems as well as collating data for statistical purpose.
* Report back to Merton Housing Needs management team and to the Triborough Project Team, by producing updates, monitoring and performance data, as well as outcomes report as required.
* Be aware of and understand the Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy and ensure that at all times the duties of the post are carried out in accordance with the policy.
* Ensure that the Corporate and Departmental Health and Safety Policies are implemented at all times and to raise any concerns regarding their operation, or any other health and safety matter with the appropriate senior line manager
Skills and Experience:
* A basic knowledge of appropriate legislation, including welfare benefits and housing law.
* Case work experience in the homelessness, advice or advocacy sectors.
* Experience working with disadvantaged households and knowledge of support systems for people at risk of homelessness.
* Experience of conducting interviews with clients and be able to assess people using a range of assessment tools.
* The ability to develop effective and professional working relationships with colleagues inside the council and agencies outside the council.
* The ability to gain the trust of individuals and to be able to motivate them to set aspirational goals and to take appropriate actions to meet these goals.
* The ability to adopt best practice in the homelessness prevention field and where appropriate bring new intervention initiatives to the project to help achieve project aims and deliver outcomes