Housing+ is a new model for delivery of council housing services. It is a personalised service that aims to provide additional support to help people look after themselves and their home through our neighbourhood officers.
In 2012, the Housing Service transferred back into the council from Sheffield Homes. Following consultation with tenants and leaseholders, project groups made up of customers and staff developed the following vision statements, on which Housing+ is modelled :
- one size doesn’t fit all; we should deliver services in a way which meets the needs of local people
- we should work with the whole household to help them achieve their aspirations
- we should do more pre-tenancy work with applicants so they are better supported from the beginning of their tenancy
- we should work with the whole family and make links with carers, GPs and other health professionals
- we should nurture stronger communities by encouraging people to become more involved
- we should manage and look after our estates effectively to make them safer and more attractive
- we should give more budgeting advice and support to tenants and leaseholders - especially those affected by the Welfare Benefits Reform.
A test phase took place in the South East of the City from June 2014 to see how Housing+ worked and make improvements before it was rolled out in 2016. 500 customers were invited to tell us about their experience of using Housing+. 93% of those taking part said they would recommend Housing+ and the majority rated their Neighbourhood Officer as very helpful.
Housing+ annual visit
A new aspect of the Housing+ service is an annual visit to every household to check that everything is okay with the tenant, their home and tenancy.
It’s a great opportunity for Neighbourhood Officers to get to know people on their patch and for customers to raise any issues they might have. It can help to identify extra support where needed.
The Housing+ visit is a routine part of the new service and nothing to worry about.
We see it as an important way for Neighbourhood Officers to get to know their customers and become more visible on estates across Sheffield; something we know our tenants value.
Neighbourhood Officers will get in touch with tenants individually to arrange a mutually convenient time for the annual visit.
If you have any queries about this please contact us.
Gill lives in the Stradbroke area of Sheffield and was involved in the test phase of Housing+ in the south east of the city.
“Initially I was sceptical about Housing+ but I have found it very beneficial.
Having a single point of contact to discuss issues such as communal refuse, upgrading bin stores, anti-social behaviour and ideas for improvement, is most effective. It offers continuity and the opportunity to build a working relationship between tenants and the Council.
Sometimes it makes the world of difference knowing that person will act upon your enquiry, liaise with other departments on your behalf or signpost you elsewhere if needed.
In my personal experience, Housing+ is a valuable service that has improved my community and, as a tenant with disabilities, improved my quality of life, the quality of my tenancy, and provided reassurance and support.
Other tenants should find out who their Housing+ contact is and get to know them.
They are here to work with us to improve our communities so make use of the service they provide as nothing beats that personal touch.”
Thomas has been in and out of trouble and is known to the Council and the Police. He suffers with mental health problems, has paranoia and split personality, and has a mental health worker that visits him regularly.
After a gas servicer was unable to gain access to the property, this information was passed onto Kelly, his Neighbourhood Officer, for her to investigate.
Kelly spoke to Thomas and asked if she could visit to complete a Housing+ plan. Thomas agreed. During the visit Kelly could see that there was no gas, electricity, hot water or heating in the property and Thomas said that he used candles at night to see. When checking his records she noticed that the property should have been furnished but it was completely empty. Thomas said that he had sold the furniture to get some money.
Kelly spoke with his mental health worker and they agreed a way forward. She got his utilities re-connected, sorted out damp in the property and arranged with Furnished Accommodation for more furniture to be supplied.
Kelly visits regularly to make sure that Thomas is keeping on top of his bills and looking after his property.
Jim, a Neighbourhood Officer, had been passed information about Susan who had fallen behind with her rent payments. Records showed that Susan was vulnerable. Jim arranged to visit and complete a Housing+ plan.
Susan advised Jim that her flat had been taken over by drug dealers; they had been destroying her post so she failed to attend a medical and had no income due to her benefits being stopped. The electricity meter had blown when they tried to bypass it. She managed to get rid of the drug dealers but after being off drugs for years was now using them again.
Jim made an appointment with her GP for her to sort out her medical issues and completed a change of circumstances form to help get benefits started again.
He also contacted the electricity company to get the electricity connected again and arranged for other repairs to the property, including re-glazing a broken window.
Jim also made a referral to Shelter for ongoing support in relation to debts, and set up support from the Fitzwilliam Project regarding drug use.
Susan is now keeping on top of her rent payments and Jim is in routine contact to ensure that there are no more issues leading to another crisis.