Match user to appropriate supported housing
If you are implementing a supported housing programme, you must ensure that service users are allocated to housing that meets their needs. Staff need clear methods for identifying service users’ needs and referral routes. Variables to consider are the level and range of support; the level of security and whether facilities are congregate or scatter-site with floating support. Your team should be aware that limiting non-housing support can compromise the stability and recovery of service users in long-term supported housing. Staff should listen to users and try, where appropriate, to accommodate their preferences for living in a congregate facility or accommodation with more independence.
Find the right balance of flexibility
Give your team the flexibility to deal with crisis situations as and when they occur. A key part of this involves building and maintaining strong partnerships with external agencies. To remove (or at least minimise) the need to enforce rules or conditions ensure your team are:
- Prioritising building open, positive relationships with their service users
- Being patient and respectful towards service users
- Taking a proactive and informed approach to finding effective strategies
Invest in maintaining a skilled workforce
Ensure that your team has both the technical skills and emotional intelligence to deliver personalised support. Staff need to be able to build the trust of service users quickly and communicate effectively and consistently with service users and programme partners. Establish ongoing career development and progression opportunities for staff and provide training that is aligned with service users needs (e.g. independent living skills, education and employment).
Ensure consistency of contracting arrangements with scheme goals
When starting or renewing a contract, ensure that the contracting arrangements and policy frameworks are consistent with the aims of the supported housing scheme. For instance, permanent supported housing needs to have contractual arrangements that recognise the long-term nature of the required support. Both flexibility and accountability should be considered in the arrangements.
Be aware of limited availability of suitable housing
If housing availability is limited, make sure your team manages users’ expectations about the likely waiting time required to access supported housing and, if appropriate, timescales for moving on to independent living.
Design smart data processes
Ensure data monitoring and sharing processes meet and respect the service user’s needs; do not cause undue administrative burden; and maintain high-quality data to inform effectiveness evaluations.