Adelle Burnett: We can make a real difference to people’s lives
Link housing officer Adelle Burnett shares how she went above and beyond to support a tenant in need.
What was the situation?
“I have a tenant who I had identified as needing additional support. His property condition was extremely poor. He was basically living in a home of squalor. It was really sad to see. He did not have any support in place, so he was essentially on his own. He has no friends or family and he has a medical condition which makes it extremely difficult for him to manage his mobility, manoeuvre around his home and even carry out basic simple tasks, day-to-day tasks.”
What action did you take?
“I had identified through a home visit to this tenant that he was needing support to sustain his tenancy, and by that we just mean to manage his tenancy, to look after his home. But also to see what kind of support he needed as well for himself, for his own mental health and also his physical health.
“Through building a relationship with this particular tenant, he eventually agreed to allow me to get him some support with cleaning up his flat to make it a cleaner, or safer environment for him. I worked with him in order to carry out a clearance of his property and then instructed a full deep clean which has made a massive difference, a huge improvement to his living conditions particularly as he is pretty much housebound and he can’t go elsewhere, so is pretty much confined to his home. So by doing that, and has made a huge difference.
“I also identified that there were things in it home that could also make a difference. He was living on a bed that wasn’t fit for purpose, it was broken, and it was extremely dirty. Through funds at Link, we were able to source a new bed for him, a brand-new bed and bedding and things. It’s made such a huge improvement to his mental health and to his well-being. He’s really grateful for this support.”
How has the tenant reacted?
“He’s over the moon. He’s really grateful for the support that he’s received from Link. Very thankful, that we have stepped in. We’ve identified a problem. We’ve been able to help, help him with that specifically. So it has made a huge difference to him.”
Is this situation common?
“It’s more common than you might think. A lot of these problems go unnoticed. People are closed. Behind a closed door, you can’t really tell what’s going on. And its only when we get into people’s homes, and we are able to kind of foster that sort of relationship with them that you can start to identify issues as you build that relationship.
“In terms of property condition, I’d say it’s actually a lot more common than people might think.”
What was at the heart of your actions?
“People mean a lot to me. Having a tenant that was living in conditions like that when I knew that I could do something to help him, that just didn’t sit right with me. I was really keen to support him and help him because we got the ability, we’ve got the skills, we’ve got the resources, we can outsource work. We can make a real difference to people’s lives. I think that was at the heart of it, knowing that I didn’t need him having to live like that. I could do something really positive to help him make a difference to his home.
“That’s one of the things I love about this job is actually being able to make a positive difference would my tenants’ lives. That is the main thing. That is the bit I absolutely love. Tenancy sustainment – I love it! You’re taking a problem and you are the problem solver and you’ve got to come up with solutions to make things better. The results and the rewards from that when it is successful it is just immense, it is such a great feeling.”