A day in the life of one of our Prevention and Engagement officers

Charlotte Garrard Pe TeamI’m Charlotte and I’ve been a prevention and engagement officer working for Cornwall Housing for a little over a year now and this role is equally as challenging as it is rewarding. We are faced with families, Couples, Single and Young people, from all walks of life, at one of the most stressful and worrying times of their lives. We deliver on the Homeless Reduction Act to provide support, advice and assistance to either prevent or relieve their homelessness, as well as referring for support in other areas of their lives when identified through our housing assessment. I get to sit and talk face to face with the applicants about their housing situations, their future aspirations and also any difficulties that they may have, and create a personalised clear plan of action of how Cornwall Housing can help and how they can help themselves to find a new home. These difficulties are so wide and varied that no applicant, or day at work, is the same. You are constantly developing your skills as a prevention and engagement officer.    

My core belief is that everyone deserves a safe and secure home. The applicants have already lost, or are facing losing this when they come to us for help. Losing this safety and security can have long lasting detriment effects to all aspects of their lives and we are often their first point of contact for help. The reality is the housing assessment often identifies all sorts of difficulties such as redundancy, mental health, disability and addiction. They could have lost their home due to these difficulties or these difficulties have developed after a loss of accommodation and it is challenging to get to the core issues of homelessness.

This can create huge barriers in relation to finding appropriate accommodation and can make the job really difficult. If appropriate support can be put in place while we help to find a home, these difficulties become easier for me and also help and support the applicant. Finding that additional support can be hard work at times due to the financial strain on all services, but I often depend on other departments and organisations to help me deliver on my plan of action. This is part of the job that I really like because I believe the more support an applicant can get while dealing with homelessness, the better. Multi-disciplinary working is a really important part of being able to achieve permanent housing for applicants and I am thankful that this support can be put in place because my Job would be much harder, if not impossible, without it. 

And what’s the part of the job that I love? That’s easy. The CONGRATULATIONS that I get to give to my applicants when they move in and I close their homeless application.