We were already set up to work remotely as a staff team, however our whole approach is based on relationships and moving around the 500 properties we own and manage, so things had to change fast.
Lockdown brought the housing market to a halt in March. Despite this, we were able to support 36 move-ins by the end of June, for key workers required to isolate, or people at risk of becoming or who were homeless. When the market opened back up in July, we were busier than ever, with a further 62 move-ins by the end of October. Our partnerships with other support agencies also continued, with properties let as temporary accommodation for very vulnerable homeless people.
Everything was an operational challenge – one which the team responded to superbly – accessing furniture for new properties, carrying out repairs and maintenance, viewings – we had to come up with alternatives for everything to keep going.
Our already strong focus on our tenants’ welfare has intensified since March 2020 – the whole team essentially became tenancy support officers
Our already strong focus on our tenants’ welfare has intensified since March 2020 – the whole team essentially became tenancy support officers. We supported almost 130 Homes for Good (HfG) tenants who had never before required help; helped 57 tenants who had lost their jobs with Universal Credit claims; provided advice to external tenants and landlords who needed help with their tenancies; started our specialist fuel advice service; established a food delivery and welfare check service for those in most need; created a full programme of activities for children and adults, including afternoon teas, film clubs, arts workshops; provided tablets and internet access for our tenants, a Homes for Good community Facebook group – all of which continues today.
We carried on working successfully with tenants on Love Home, our interior design project, despite the acute shortages of materials, and teaching painting and decorating via Zoom – no mean feat!
As an organisation, Homes for Good has come through 2020 well – we have continued to provide homes for people who need them most, collect the rent, support our tenants, work together as a committed team – and we are ready for the next stage of our growth in 2021.
Susan Aktemel Director, Homes for Good Glasgow