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Issue 12: November 2009

Housing Need and Support Service newsletter

Welcome... ...to the autumn issue of the Going Places newsletter. We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter. If you have any comments or suggestions for articles in future issues, please email nicola.poulter@stockporthomes.org

Resettlement Officer, Lorna with one of our youngest customers!

PRIZE WORRCD H SEA

page 25

What’s going on at your scheme pages 8 to 11

Christmas Cards coming to a service near you page 19


Contents

Useful numbers

Customer Involvement - helping you to access services

3

Housing Options

0161 474 4237

Free Skills for Life courses

5

Housing Options (out-of-hours)

0161 477 2626

New Customer Involvement leaflet

6

Homechoice

0161 474 4567

Reducing your bills

7

Resettlement Team

0161 474 3772

Housing Support Point

0161 474 3719

What’s going on at your scheme

8-11

You said, We did

12

Furniture Station

0161 456 0717

Furnished Tenancy Scheme

14

Wellspring

0161 477 6344

Day in the life of a Resettlement Officer

15

Housing Benefit

0161 217 6015

Job Centre Plus

0845 608 8526

Changes to the allocation of Adapted properties

16

Welfare Rights

0161 474 3093

Adaptations Service

17

Citizens Advice Bureau

0870 120 4040

Investors in People Gold

18

Stockport Victim Support

0161 477 9597

19

Victim Support Line

0845 303 0900

Samaritans

0845 790 9090

NHS Direct

0845 46 47

Alcohol and Drugs Service

0161 249 4080

Disability Stockport

0161 480 7248

Stockport Refugee Support Group

0161 426 9101

Christmas Cards - coming to a service near you Domestic Abuse

20-21

Getting back into work

22

Helping offenders into homes

23

The furniture station

24

Keen to be green?

25

Facts and figures

26-27

Help with rent and Council Tax

28

Accessing our services If you would like a copy of this newsletter in large print, Braille, on audio tape or CD, please contact the Social Inclusion Team on 0161 474 2860 or email social.inclusion@ stockporthomes.org A free interpreting service is available if you need help with this newsletter. Please telephone Stockport Interpreting Unit on 0161 477 9000. Email eds.admin@stockport.gov.uk 2

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Customer Involvement – helping you to access services The Temporary Accommodation Expert Panel (TAEP) is a group that meets every six months and chat about their experiences and how the service can be made better. They are all current or ex-residents of Temporary Accommodation Schemes.

the ‘Streets 2 home’ board game everyone helped to design (certificates were given to thank everyone for their help and a copy given to take to each Temporary Accommodations Scheme).

In September we: • talked about whether people thought the Housing Options Service is fair for everyone, why somebody may feel excluded and what we can do to help them; • asked people if they thought their views were In June we looked at: listened to and the barriers that people can • the reasons why some people become face. We created posters to highlight problems homeless; and ways we can help; • why people may need to access the Housing • found out how the TAEP group can access Options Service; funding for special projects by becoming a • how Stockport Homes can promote the formal group; and Housing Options Service more widely to enable • chatted with the new Employment Support people to get the most from it; Officer and learned how he can help access • Stockport Homes’ website, what we liked employment, training, education and voluntary and disliked and how we can make it more roles. We all had lunch and enjoyed getting user-friendly; and together to share our experiences and views and are looking forward to the next one. This picture shows some of the panel trying out the ‘Streets to Home’ board game. Would you like to come to the next TAEP? It’s a great opportunity to have an input on the services you receive. We’d love to see you there. Please speak to your Project Worker or Barbara Murthwaite, Customer Involvement Officer on 0161 474 2862 or email customer.involvement@ stockporthomes.org You don’t need any special skills to come to the group, just an opinion. www.stockporthomes.org

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Focus on You – the focus group for Resettlement service-users

Stockport Homes held a special adaptations themed Focus on You Group on 27 August 2009. The group provided an opportunity for attendees to learn about the Adaptations Service and to give their views on a number of proposals. Activities included: • • • •

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an introduction to the Adaptations Service; consultation on the Adapted Property Register; an adaptations quiz (with prizes); and consultation on new target times.

Attendees also enjoyed some light refreshments and the opportunity to meet staff and other users of the Resettlement Service. Any service-users of the Resettlement, Tenancy Support or Adaptations Service are welcome to come along to the Focus Groups.

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Have you heard about our free Skills for Life courses for Stockport Homes’ Customers? Our new programme of courses started in November. There’s something for everyone from one day courses to courses running for a couple of hours over a number of weeks. You could learn new skills or brush up on your existing skills, meet new people or simply find something new to do. All of our courses are FREE and we can cover the costs of transport and childcare for you. Just let us know. Here’s just a sample of the courses available:

How to get a job This course could help you if you are searching for work and will cover job searching skills, completing application forms, interview skills and other useful tips and hints. Money Matters A basic budgeting course that will help you to recognise the importance of interest rates and gain an understanding of how much extra you pay when you spread payments over a long period of time.

Basic DIY Learn how to carry out basic DIY and small jobs around the home safely including basic repairs, wallpapering, using power tools and putting up shelves.

Emergency First Aid Learn how to cope and help someone in an emergency situation. You will receive a First Aid certificate which is valid for three years.

www.stockporthomes.org

There are more courses to choose from, so sneak a peak at our new Skills for Life programme and register your interest today! Please contact Georgia Bradshaw, Customer Involvement Assistant on 0161 474 2862, email customer.involvement@ stockporthomes.org or speak to your Project Worker, Resettlement Officer or Tenancy Support Officer.

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ys a w f o r e b m u n e th n e se u yo ve “Ha you can get involved with Stockport Homes?” We have a great new leaflet, ‘Your, Home, Your Voice, Your Choice’ to let you know of the many different ways you can get involved in helping us improve the services you receive from Stockport Homes. It’s bright, colourful and it was created with the help of many Stockport Homes’ customers. We want to hear what you have to say and for you to be able to do this in your own way: from filling in a quick survey in the comfort of your own home, attending one of our friendly customer meetings, right up to becoming one of our Tenant Board Members. There’s something for everyone, you choose. The Customer Involvement Team would love to hear from you and are ready to answer any queries you may have about what to do next. Please contact Barbara Muthwaite, Customer Involvement Officer on 0161 474 2862 or email customer.involvement@stockporthomes.org You can pick up a leaflet at your Area Housing Office, local library, the Housing Information Centre, by contacting the Customer Involvement Team or downloading it from our website www.stockporthomes.org 6

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Make small changes to reduce your bills Take a few simple steps to reduce your fuel bills, these steps are free to do and very effective. Tip 1 Switch to energy saving light bulbs. They last around 10 times longer than ordinary light bulbs, and each bulb you fit could save around £40 over its lifetime. They come in a whole range of styles, like this candle bulb. If all UK households replaced one light bulb with an energy efficient one, the money saved could pay about 75,000 family fuel bills a year. Tip 2 Switch off your appliances completely not leaving them on standby could save you up to £37 per year. Tip 3 Close your curtains at dusk to keep the heat in. Tip 4 Choose energy efficient appliances when it’s time to replace your old ones. Look for the Energy Saving Recommended logo to find the most energy efficient products on the market.

Worried about paying your fuel bills this winter? Call the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99 - they can give you advice about paying your fuel bills. For more advice on energy efficiency call the Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre on 0800 512 012 – they will give you free impartial advice. Going Places - November 2009 Issue 12

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o y t a n o g in o g ’s t Wha Street Soccer

Fun packed summer holidays Over the summer holidays Brindale House and Play Development ran a jam-packed schedule of activities, day trips and fun for all children residents at Brindale House, and local children alike.

Project Workers at all schemes have been promoting Health, Well Being and Social Inclusion to residents by working in partnership with local sporting facilities, The Street Soccer Project and Stockport Libraries Leisure Key programme. Staff run weekly trips to the local gym at the Lapwing Centre and the Street Soccer Scheme football pitches, free of charge to residents. All residents are encouraged to attended the activities and are supported by staff to complete Leisure Key applications - giving access to a huge range of activities and events. Project Workers and residents play football every Thursday afternoon at the local football pitches, where they team up with local residents and professional coaches to play 5-a-side, practice dribbling and shooting skills; and play in friendly matches.

In consultation with parents and children, staff put together a programme of free activities to keep everyone entertained over the six week break. Activities laid on included: • painting: • jewellery making; • baking; • story writing; • gardening; • outdoor sports; and • trips to the local park and messy-play days. In addition, Brindale House held a fun day, including: • bouncy castles; • face painting; • badge making; • sports competitions; • t-shirt decoration; • music; and party food.

The Street Soccer Summer Tournament 2009 brought teams from all over Greater Manchester together for a one day knock out competition, and culminated in an evening Awards Ceremony to celebrate achievements of the past 12 months. One of our residents and keen footballers, was awarded ‘Most Improved Player of the Year’.

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? e m e h c s r u o Green Fingers at Brindale House

Tesco Campaign gives boost to Play Scheme Play Workers running the Big Lottery funded Play Development Project asked residents and staff if they would hand in any Tesco School Vouchers they received to the collection they were starting, in order to exchange the vouchers for toys and equipment for the Play Scheme. Stockport Homes’ Marketing and Communications Department helped to publicise this campaign across the organisation, prompting in excess of 8,000 vouchers being collected.

Residents at Brindale House who attend the weekly Brunch Clubs held at the scheme developed ideas for a new Garden Project.

Bring it on Brinnington

With the help of Project Workers, residents have excavated a piece of unused land at the rear of the properties and have potted large planters, planted shrubs and seasonal flowers, sowed seedlings, made up hanging baskets and revamped garden furniture residents are currently helping to build several raised beds utilising old railway sleepers, with a view to planting Brindale’s very own Vegetable Garden, including potatoes, carrots, sweet peas, leeks and garlic bulbs. Residents are currently developing a Recipe and Shopping Tip book, and staff are holding cooking lessons based around the recipes residents have submitted. Once the Vegetable Patch has become established, the produce will be used during these cooking sessions. To help with the development of this project, which has seen adults and children in temporary accommodation working together, toward the improvement of the scheme, Woodbank Park in Offerton have generously donated plants, trees and flowers to the project.

www.stockporthomes.org

Glendale gardening contractors worked over the summer holidays to help children and residents, and local children alike, to develop a garden area at the scheme. Project Workers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) supported the children to plant up raised beds with marigolds and geraniums; prepare a vegetable patch including potatoes, rhubarb, sugar snap peas and carrots; make up large planters to decorate the patio area and plant borders of pansies and primulas around the grassy areas. This project has run successfully over the last two years and will continue to run every summer.

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What’s going on at yo Let it Grow, Let it Grow, Let it Grow Strathclyde House residents and staff have been busy designing, planning and choosing plants and furniture for the new garden. With the help of GM Procure sense of place funding and the Probation service the unused garden at the side of Strathclyde has been transformed into a fantastic area for the residents and their visitors. GM Procure and Stockport Homes provided the finances, the Probation service provided the free labour and residents provided the creativity and

imagination which has made this garden such a wonderful success. The garden design includes four garden segments with picnic benches, a sensory garden and raised allotment beds for own grown vegetables. These vegetables will be used in cookery sessions which is only one of the regular activities sessions held at the scheme. The garden will continue to be developed by the residents with the planting of seasonal vegetables and plants and the preparation for the open day in spring.

Residents Go Green Residents at Strathclyde House attended the skills for life eco homes trip in October. They learnt how to be more energy

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our scheme? efficient, cut fuel bills and how to reduce damage to the environment. All residents and staff who attended said they found the trip really interesting and fun.

Food Glorious Food Strathclyde House residents and staff are combining their regular activity sessions with the multi faith calendar. Residents have the opportunity of finding out about different cultures beliefs, festivals and celebrations, they are then using their creativity and cookery sessions to make and eat new and exciting things from what they have learnt.

r

a d n le a C h t i a Multi-F

us festivals in n guide to religio a ith w u ch dates whe yo ides u consider su yo n This page prov ca se ea t 2009. Pl July – Augus . ts en ev planning ddhism) O-Bon (Zen Bu July

ja kka / Asalha Pu 7 Dhammaca Buddha’s first Commemorates ia. Ind nares in sermon of Be

of the Bab 9 Martyrdom emorate the Baha’is comm mmed. Mirza Ali Muha martyrdom of

Emperor Haile 23 Birthday of Selassie 1 liest One of the ho days for commemorative Rastafarians.

August 1 Lughnasadh gans rn harvest, Pa Time of the co ngs d reap those thi give thanks an . wn so they have han 5 Raksha Band ead tie a special thr Hindu sisters rs und their brothe called Rakhi aro l. t them from evi wrists to protec ’h 5 Lailat-ul-Bara slims rgiveness. Mu The Night of Fo eness in giv for l tua mu seek Ramadan. preparation for

13 -16 l. Japanese festiva parted are the de The spirits of feasting ck home with welcomed ba and dancing. i 14 Janmashtam of e the birthday Hindus celebrat . na sh Kri Lord

shana Parva 16 – 23* Paryu ich ys festival in wh Eight to ten da their the lifestyle of Jains emulate leaders. 20 No Ruz sai y on the Shen New Year’s Da rated by calendar. Celeb Zoroastrians. r 20 Septembe 22 August period slims begin a Ramadan Mu wn da m fro fasting of 30 days of selfry day and of to sunset eve restraint. l 24 Khordad Sa mmemorate the Zoroastrians co rathustra. Za of ay thd bir n a day betwee celebrated on * The festival is to register your like uld wo u yo r for these dates. If Faith Calenda py of the Multiinterest in a co odes, Diversity ntact Phil Rh co des@ ase rho ple il , ph ail 2010 474 2860 or em Officer on 0161 g .or es om stockporth 25 9 e 12 Summer

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You said, We did This section lets you know the actions we have taken as a result of your comments and suggestions.

What you said...

What we did...

Where you said it...

You asked for some outdoor furniture to be provided.

Benches and picnic tables have been provided and include both adult and children sizes as requested.

Temporary Accommodation Scheme.

You asked for the Housing Surgery times to be more widely publicised.

The opening times are now on posters and Resettlement Officers will promote them to customers.

Resettlement group – Focus on You.

You wanted to discuss Play Group opening hours for the summer holidays.

Staff and customers met with play workers and Play Group hours have been displayed in the reception area.

Temporary Accommodation Scheme.

You looked at the current Stockport Homes’ website and told us what you liked and disliked about it and made suggestions for how it can be improved.

All the comments were considered by the Marketing and Communications Team when they developed the new website during autumn 2009.

Members of the Temporary Accommodation Expert Panel (TAEP).

You can see from the items above that we discuss lots of different subjects and wherever possible we act on them.

Don’t forget, you can also put your ideas in the suggestion boxes which are available at all the Temporary Accommodation Schemes, Area Housing Offices and Housing Information Centre.

We’d love to hear what you think and what you need so why not come along to one of the friendly meetings ease contact Barbara pl n, io at m or inf er rth fu For we have. Whether it’s in your er Involvement Officer Temporary Accommodation Scheme Muthwaite, Custom or email on 0161 474 2862 or at a Resettlement Focus Group es.org ent@stockporthom em lv vo we’re always there to listen. .in er om st cu

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r u o h 4 2 e ic o h c Home ! d e iv r r a s a h g n i d bid Your new 24-hour bidding line is now live, meaning that you can phone in your bids at anytime of the day or night during the advert period. Probably the most frequent concern from customers has been that the telephone lines were so busy and this new system should resolve that – with the automated system having the potential to handle up to 30 lines open at one time. It’s the same number that you called before to place bids - 0161 474 4567 - and to use it, you just need to follow these simple steps: Look at the Homechoice advert and choose which properties you want to apply for. (Remember to make sure it’s the size and type of property you are registered for).

Step One

If you bid for something you are not eligible to apply for then the system will let you know.

Write down the bidding Step Two reference numbers for the properties (these are next to the address on the advert). Also make sure you have your Homechoice application reference to hand (it is on all your letters from Homechoice, or you can call us on 0161 474 2975 for a reminder). www.stockporthomes.org

Call the 24-hour bidding line on 0161 474 4567, Step Three where you will be asked to enter your: • Homechoice reference number; • date of birth (for example if your date of birth is 2nd October 1975 you will need to enter 02-10-75 on your telephone); and • the bidding reference numbers for properties you are interested in.

At the end of the bidding period you will be contacted if you are successful. Remember you can still place bids through our website www.stockporthomes.org/ homechoice, in person by visiting the Housing Information Centre or an Area Housing Office, or by text to 07797 806630. If you have any difficulties placing bids, then the Homechoice Team are always here to help on 0161 474 2975.

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Focus on‌The Furnished Tenancy Scheme

The Furnished Tenancy Scheme aims to help people that do not have furniture, do not have sufficient funds to purchase furniture and do not qualify for a community care grant to gain access to furniture and white goods for their home. Furnished tenancies are available to any Stockport Homes’ customer. A package of new, good quality essential furniture and white goods will be delivered directly to the customer. The package typically includes a bed, sofa, fridge, cooker, carpets and curtains. White goods are connected, carpets are fitted and curtains hung. The furniture packages can be put in retrospectively regardless of how long the tenant has occupied the property. A charge for the furniture and white goods is added onto the weekly rent and if the tenant is in receipt of benefits this cost may be covered by Housing Benefit. 14

Resettlement Support is also offered to furnished tenants, giving them the skills to be able to maintain their tenancy in the long-term. Many of our current customers are moving into their new home from one of our Temporary Accommodation Schemes or may be setting up home for the first time. By providing essential items a customer is more likely to sustain their tenancy, thereby preventing repeat homelessness. We currently have in excess of 110 furnished tenancies spread across the Borough and are keen to add more to our portfolio.

If you are working with someone that may benefit from the scheme please call the Furnished Tenancy Scheme on 0161 474 3772 or email traci.good@stockporthomes.org or madeline.lee@ stockporthomes.org

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A day in the life of a

Resettlement Officer My name is Anella Iovino and I joined the Resettlement Team over four years ago. I started as a Resettlement Officer working primarily with young people, but I am currently running the Mediation Scheme for Stockport Homes. The scheme is primarily aimed at young people in Stockport aged between 16-24 years old, although we will deal with anyone at risk of becoming homeless experiencing family conflict. I also deal with 16 or 17 year olds, and the procedure for this age group is that we may also involve Social Care for a joint assessment, to ensure the young person’s needs are being met.

We look at the causes of family breakdown together to see if we can work out a solution. Even where the young person cannot return home, this intervention is likely to reduce the chances of homelessness through reconciling them with family or friends.

We aim to provide an “all round” approach in identifying the underlying issues which may cause homelessness, such as misuse of alcohol or drugs, unemployment, overcrowding and health issues, so working with other agencies is a big part of the job.

We have delivered training at Werneth High School, which was fun and interactive – and very popular! We are going to “roll out” training to lots of other schools and colleges over the next term. We will also deliver training to teachers, mentors and support staff at schools and colleges so staff will be able to look at early intervention so that Mediation at a “Crisis Point” won’t be required. If anyone is interested in finding out more about this service or you belong to a group or organisation working with young people and would like to know more about this service, please contact me on 0161 474 2889 or email resettlement.team@ stockporthomes.org.

We have a really good success rate (90%) of customers returning home to their family or friends.

I see people coming to surgeries who are having problems at home with their family or whoever they are living with.

We were granted some extra funding for another full-time post – this enabled us to do some promotions work in schools and colleges, and with other agencies. To date 28 agencies have been contacted.

www.stockporthomes.org

Mediation can be accessed via the Housing Information Centre and delivered through four weekly surgeries: Monday - Friday 9.30am to 11.30am and Tuesday - Wednesday 1.00pm to 3.00pm.

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Changes to the Allocation of Adapted Properties

Following consultation activities undertaken with a range of service-users and organisations, Stockport Homes is introducing choice-based lettings for adapted properties. This means that from the 14 October, properties with adaptations, such as a flat with a level access shower, are now advertised through Homechoice and applicants will be able to bid for them. Properties which are fully wheelchair accessible will still be allocated via the Adapted Property Panel attended by Officers from both Social Care and Stockport Homes. This change has been made as a result of service-users saying that they wanted to exercise more choice about the properties and areas they want to live in. Under the new system adapted properties will be clearly specified within the advert alongside details of the types of adaptations within the property. All applicants will be able to bid for these properties 16

but priority for allocation will be given to those on the Adapted Property Register. If you have a disability or health problem and think you would benefit from living in an adapted property you must register with Homechoice and complete a medical self-assessment form. This will be assessed by the Health and Housing Officer and passed to the Adaptations Officer for a home visit (if appropriate). If you would like more information please contact Homechoice on 0161 474 2975 or email homechoice@stockporthomes.org

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Adaptations Service

Do you have a health problem or disability? Are you struggling to maintain your independence within your own home? If so, we may be able to help. Stockport Homes can offer certain adaptations within the home to assist you to remain independent. These can range from a minor adaptation such as a grab rail through to major adaptations such as a level access shower. If you require a major adaptation you will receive a visit from either the Adaptations Officer or a Tenancy Support Officer who will discuss your situation and options with you and will refer you to Social Care for a full assessment if required.

www.stockporthomes.org

Please contact Social Care directly on 0161 217 6029 (Adult Services) or 0161 217 6028 (Childrens Services). Social Care can also provide equipment to help you with day-to-day activities such as bathing, toileting and preparing food.

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Stockport Homes strikes gold Stockport Homes was awarded Investors in People (IiP) Gold in a recent assessment. This is the highest level an organisation can get and is especially impressive as it was the first time we were assessed. We are one of the first housing organisations in the country to get IiP Gold. This is a fantastic achievement and a real testament to the commitment of all our staff, who serve and support you, our customers. What is IiP? It is a standard that assesses how well an organisation improves performance through staff. While it assesses how staff are managed, developed and consulted, the focus is on making 18

sure that this results in improvements to the service we deliver to customers. As part of our assessment, we asked the assessors to focus on a number of priorities including one looking at improving our services. Over 35,000 organisations have met the standard, and Stockport Homes has joined them. What does this mean to you, our customers? This excellent assessment result shows customers that our commitment to improving services and performance is embedded across the organisation. It also shows that we have the tools in place to deliver further improvements over the coming years. It will also make us more attractive to potential employees, ensuring that we get the best staff to deliver services to you. If you have any questions about IiP, please contact Lisa Musson, Business Support Manager, on 0161 474 2858 or email lisa.musson@stockporthomes.org

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s d r a C s a m t is r h C r a e n e ic rv e s a to g in m co you….

Last year Stockport Homes ran a competition for residents of its Temporary Accommodation Schemes to design and have printed Christmas cards which were then sold throughout the Borough. The profits from the sale of these Christmas cards were then put towards good causes within the schemes, such as welcome packs for new residents. www.stockporthomes.org

This year we are going one better with the cards being designed by service-users from Stockport Women’s Aid, the Wellspring and Nightstop as well. The four winning designs will be going to print shortly and will be available throughout the Borough and from all the agencies involved. Packs containing 12 cards will be available for £1.50 each. All money raised will be split between the services involved to be used to help these local services support our customers. Please see a member of staff if you would like to buy a pack of cards.

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Domestic abuse

Stockport Homes now has a dedicated Domestic Abuse Resettlement Officer on their team called Keir Taylor. Did you know? You do not have to leave your home if you are experiencing domestic abuse. There is a new scheme to support those people who are experiencing domestic abuse to stay safely in their homes. How? You can ask to be referred to the Resettlement Team by attending a drop-in surgery at 1 St. Peter’s Square, Monday - Friday 1.00pm – 4.00pm or you can request to be referred to Keir via your Area Housing Office. There are two options available to enable you to safely stay in your home: The first option is called Target Hardening or Sanctuary. Keir can make a referral to Victim Support and explain your situation and the risks you / your family face. Victim support will come out to your home and assess what security measures are needed to keep you safe. This could be any one or all of the following: • • • • •

extra bolts on doors or gates; window locks; fire proof letter box; external security lighting; or advice on keeping safe.

There is no charge to you for this service. 20

If it is felt that the risk is higher, then Victim Support will email the case over to Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) who will then look at the possibility of turning a room in your house (usually a bedroom) into a ‘Safe Room’*. This can include the following safety measures: • alarms connected directly to the Police; • reinforced doors; • mortice locks on the doors; • CCTV; • telephone lines; • collapsible window bars; and • fire extinguishers. Protection and support packages to ensure safety outside the home and in the local community (safe to take children to school / go to work) can also be arranged as well as a multi-agency community response (police, fire service, women’s outreach services, housing support, GP’s) to give you support. * Please note that it is not always possible to put these measures in place due to some walls being partitioned. Important numbers: The Resettlement Team at Stockport Homes: 0161 474 3772 Housing Options:

0161 474 4237

The Domestic Violence unit:

0161 856 7974

Victim Support:

0161 477 9597

East Area Housing Office:

0161 474 4372

West Area Housing Office:

0161 474 4371

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Domestic abuse Case Study Amanda* had been married for many years when the relationship with her husband began to break down. Although their relationship had not been harmonious for some years, Amanda had always looked after her husband, prepared his meals, contributed to paying the bills, furnished the home and brought up their two children single handed. Amanda’s mobility became impaired when an operation she had on her spine went wrong. The domestic abuse increased due to the added pressure of her dependency on him and her inability to care for him, herself and the home. The impaired mobility meant that Amanda would often fall over in the home. Her husband vwould shout and swear at Amanda and would more

often that not, step over her and leave her to get up on her own. Amanda became accustomed to this behaviour, but when the verbal abuse became more vehement and he hit her a few times, tried to choke her and expected her to contribute to more than the fare share of the bills Amanda decided enough was enough and contacted Stockport Homes. Amanda met with Fiona Edwards from the Homechoice Team who helped Amanda fill in an application form and referred Amanda to the Domestic Abuse Resettlement Officer who began to support Amanda straight away. Amanda was successful on bidding on a ground floor sheltered property in the local area and moved in within the week. Amanda has furnished the property and has made friends with all the neighbours. Although, after 54 years of marriage Amanda still has contact with her husband, it is on her terms and she is no longer a victim of his abuse.

* Not real name

Amanda met with Fiona Edwards from the Homechoice Team who helped Amanda fill in an application form and referred Amanda to the Domestic Abuse Resettlement Officer who began to support Amanda straight away. www.stockporthomes.org

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Quality Housing Options Advice for you in Stockport

After a two day inspection the team has been awarded the Legal Service 'Quality Mark' at the higher 'case work' level, meaning that the service has demonstrated it provides in-depth quality advice.

Simon Welch, Head of Rehousing Services said:

The assessment focussed on the quality of advice given, robustness of procedures, supervision and staff development. This really is a credit to a very professional and hard working team, here to serve our customers.

The Housing Options Team at Stockport Homes has been given the thumbs up following a visit from the Community Legal Service.

If you are in housing difficulty and need advice on the options available to you please contact the Housing Options Team on 0161 474 3716, email housing.options@stockporthomes.org or visit us at the Housing Information Centre, 1 St. Peter’s Square, Stockport SK1 1NZ.

Getting back into work It’s no secret that there is a recession on at the moment. Many of you may have lost your job recently, or have found it difficult to find work at the moment. Whilst unfortunately we can’t offer everyone a job ourselves, we can offer you some help. You can now search for jobs on the internet in our office at 1 St. Peter’s Square, or see details of all the latest 22

vacancies from the Job Centre. We also have an Employment Support Officer, who you can speak to about all the extra specialist support you could be receiving to find work, apprenticeships, voluntary positions (to help you get experience) or training courses. For more details, please contact Martyn Preston, Employment Support Officer on 0161 474 2836, email housing.options@stockporthomes.org or ask at the Housing Information Centre.

Going Places - November 2009 Issue 12

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Helping ex-offenders into homes

A new service is being offered by the Housing Options Team, funded jointly by Stockport Probation Service and Supporting People. A Housing Options Officer based at the Housing Information Centre is dedicated to working specifically with offenders and those with a history of offending. The work of the dedicated Housing Options Officer links very closely to helping tackle crime and reduce re-offending as well. A main link with this is helping offenders secure accommodation by providing some stability in which to be able to turn their lives around. With the help of Stockport Homes’ Deposit Scheme the new service is really helping clients access the private rented sector. www.stockporthomes.org

The Housing Options Officer works closely with all the offender management agencies and helps all of her clients access Resettlement Support Services as well which can make sure that they are able to maintain their accommodation. The Housing Options Officer also acts as a main point of referral for housing advice and homelessness assessments for Probation, Youth Offending and prisons. If you would like to talk about this initiative, please call Rebecca Connolly on 0161 474 4237 or email housing.options@stockporthomes.org Alternatively, why not drop into the Housing Information Centre, at 1 St. Peter’s Square, or see Rebecca at the Probation Offices every Tuesday.

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The Furniture Station

The Furniture Station opened in 1994. This year demand on the service especially for people in emergency situations has been the heaviest. We aim to offer client’s moving into empty properties with no furniture an emergency delivery within 48 hours of signing for their tenancy. Our clients are then encouraged to arrange an appointment to come and choose any additional items they may require. Equal to this has been the challenge to maintain a good stock of furniture and white goods perhaps due to the current financial recession. To address the shortfall of furniture we have therefore expanded our collection area, each Tuesday, to Macclesfield, Adlington, Tytherington, Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and surrounding areas.

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The expansion into these other areas has been beneficial and people have been most generous with their donations of goods. In May this year due to welcome extra funding we were able to employ an extra member of staff initially on a twelve month contract. The successful person had previously been long-term unemployed in the Stockport area. In September we were also able to increase one of the driver’s hours to full-time. Both these additions have been invaluable to enable us to increase the number of people we are able to help. The Furniture Station is currently in need of good quality furniture, free standing electric cookers, fridges, fridge-freezers, microwaves and vacuum cleaners. Please note fridges and fridge-freezers must be in good working order, all other electrical items listed may be repaired in the workshop. For more information, please contact the Furniture Station on 0161 456 0717.

Going Places - November 2009 Issue 12

www.stockporthomes.org


Keen to be green? Here are some simple tips on how you can be ‘greener’ in your home and it can save you money too! • Put a reminder on your calendar so you will know when your recycling dates are. • •

PRIZE WORD

SEARCH

Join your local FREECYCLE group and get rid of your unwanted goods for FREE to someone who may need them, by registering with http://www.freecycle.org/group/UK/ North%20West/Stockport - All the goods are free whether you are giving or receiving them.

• Use energy saving light bulbs. They are not too Make a list of the meals to have for the next expensive to buy now and can last up to 12 week before you go shopping. That way you times longer than ordinary ones, and even save can plan your shopping list carefully, making the you up to £100 over the bulb’s lifetime! most of special offers and short sell-by dates. Why not play along with our ‘green’ wordsearch Save paper by eliminating junk mail by and win an energy saving prize pack including a registering FREE with the Mail Preference low energy kettle, T.V. powerdown and low energy Service on www.mpsonline.org.uk. If you don’t lightbulbs. not have access to a computer you can use the ones in your nearest public library. Please pass your entries to your Project Worker or you can hand them in at reception at 1 St. Peter’s Square.

Entry form R O A S R S C A R D G E

V E F O R E S T B S R N

B P O L L U T I O N E V

Z E C A G J F R E W E I

I W O R G A N I C H N R

C I Z O P O I F L I H O

O N O E W X T Y I M O N

M D N Z N H E R M V U M

P F E A X E F G A O S E

O A K M W E R I T L E N

S R B N O L M G E I P T

T M D E W R E C Y C L E

Organic Recycle Pollution Compost Greenhouse Energy Windfarm Solar Forest Climate Environment Ozone

 Name: ................................ ............................................ Contact address: ................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ Phone Number: .................. ............................................

Entrants must be a Stockport Homes’ customer or Service User. Only one application per person. Entries must be received by 29 January 2010. All correct entries received will be entered into a draw, and the winner will be notified as soon as possible by telephone and will win an energy saving prize pack. There will be no cash alternatives. The winners name will Going be included in future Stockport 2009 Homes’ publicity. www.stockporthomes.org Places - November Issue 12

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Facts and figures (April - September 2009) Housing Options Service Total number of decisions about homelessness

154

Full-duty decisions

52

Non-priority decisions

82

Main reasons for homelessness • Asked to leave by parents

10

• Domestic violence

13

• Required to leave accommodation provided by the Home Office

7

Number of visitors to the Housing Information Centre

15,718

Average wait for an interview

10 minutes

% of customers from a black or minority ethnic (BME) background

10%

Average number of days to answer letters

1

Temporary Accommodation Scheme

Number Accommodated

% from BME groups

Average length of stay (days)

Families

13

4.3%

63

Single men

78

8.7%

50

Single women / mums and babies

61

4.9%

56

Temporary Accommodation Service Standards Standard

Target

Outcome

Provide accommodation that is safe clean and meets the Temporary Accommodation Re-let standard

100%

100%

Ensure that the reception and communal areas are clean, tidy and safe.

100%

98%

Maintain appropriate standards of safety and security throughout the accommodation.

100%

100%

Make an appointment with each new resident to explain the services available to them within the scheme.

100%

100%

Provide all residents with a needs assessment interview within two weeks of entering the scheme.

100%

100%

Hold regular resident meetings, at least every six weeks and more often if necessary and provide feedback to service users from each meeting.

100%

90%

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Going Places - November 2009 Issue 12

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Here we give you information that helps you understand our services a little better and tells you how we are performing against the service standards set after consulting our customers. Repairs at Temporary Accommodation Schemes (April - September 2009) Making the Temporary Accommodation Schemes pleasant and safe places to live depends upon making sure repairs are done to a high standard and on time. To help with this, residents are involved in health and safety checks and encouraged to report faults whenever they see them and are involved in monitoring performance and making suggestions for improvements to the repairs process. Scheme

Total repairs ordered

Orders complete within target

%

Families

91

85

93%

Single men

3

2

67%

Single women / mums and babies

23

22

96%

Overall

117

109

93%

Resettlement Service 267

households (including individuals) were referred to us for resettlement or tenancy support

5592 hours of support were provided to 187 households 1832 visits to service–users in their homes were completed 125

cases were closed after receiving a full package of support (including home visits).

At the end of this period, of the 125 cases closed: 103 have completed a package of support and are successfully resettled 19 Remain in their properties but have decided not to continue using the service 1 To other tenures/ or residential care 1 In custody 0 In hospital long-term 1 Has died 0 Has lost contact with the service

www.stockporthomes.org

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Going Places - November 2009 Issue 12

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Going Places Newsletter Autumn 2009