Today, our focus for National Safeguarding Adults Week is older people in our communities and how the availability of safe and suitable housing has a big impact on their health and well being.
To explore this, we asked our colleague Jackey to provide us with some insight into her role as a Housing Options for Older People (HOOP) facilitator. HOOP was created under the 'Housing for an Age Friendly Manchester' strategy, and aims to help older residents to live independently for longer by helping them to secure sufficient housing.
In this article, Jackey outlines the nature of her role and how HOOP is working to support our older residents.
The HOOP (Housing Options for Older People) service in South Manchester is now an established and recognised service that supports over 50’s with their rehousing options. Working across tenure, initially the service had more of a preventative approach that allowed me to visit people in their homes and we would look at what type of accommodation would best suit their needs. Many wanted to right-size from larger family homes into smaller 1 bed or sheltered schemes, others wanted to stay in their home and required information around aids that could assist with this.
The reasons for the referrals included financial, medical and social isolation. As I continued to build partnerships with other organisations in the community, my role expanded to providing a pivotal support for health, housing and social care teams. The majority of my work now involves very complex cases that requires a joint working approach from multi-agencies across South Manchester and beyond.
I currently receive referrals from 25+ partner agencies and signpost to others if the citizens don’t meet my criteria, to ensure that all individuals receive the correct support and guidance. In doing so we are empowering citizens, as with the correct help and support they are less likely to be in crisis and can learn to manage their lives more effectively. Many of the cases are delayed discharges in hospital where is it deemed unsafe for the person to return. It is imperative that these individuals are known to me so I can start to offer support at the beginning of the discharge process from a housing perspective.
I also work in partnership with Manchester City Council's neighbourhood apartment schemes, which are commissioned flats within existing extra care and sheltered schemes. These flats are a step down from hospital so that people can be discharged to somewhere safe on a temporary basis for 6-8 weeks while I try to secure them a more suitable, permanent home. The flats are also utilised when someone requires adaptations and they need to move out, and we have used them to safeguard people who are experiencing domestic abuse as a way of supporting them in a more age friendly environment than the general provision.
My role is very exciting as no two days are the same as all cases have their own individual needs, and trying to fit this around health, housing and social policies can be a real challenge. I have made invaluable contacts in community health and social care as well as in Wythenshawe Hospital where I am based every Thursday. I also liaise with MCC Homeless to prevent duplication of work and contact housing providers directly if a case is urgent. Even though we are in the midst of a housing crisis, I utilise my skills and knowledge to try and meet the expectations of my clients and partnership agencies. In the past 6 months I have dealt with 150 referrals. Most referrals came from Housing Providers and Adult Social Care. 20 clients have moved, mainly to sheltered housing.
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We're very grateful to Jackey for sharing her experiences with us and for the fantastic work she carries out in supporting our older residents into safe and suitable homes.
For more information on National Safeguarding Adults Week, click here.