Arch helps hundreds of people across Staffordshire, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, victims of domestic abuse, people suffering from poor mental wellbeing and anyone struggling to maintain their independence or their tenancy. Without a great workforce, we couldn’t deliver our aim of creating opportunities for people to transform their lives.
Sean Phoenix is a support practitioner for Arch’s supported housing, helping people keep their tenancies, teaching them life skills and working with other agencies to make sure they have the support they need. He tells us a bit about his job and what working for Arch is like.
My job is to help people to maintain their independence, living in a home. This support ranges from things like budgeting and how to keep a home, to emotional support and helping them get out into the community.
For example, if they have difficulty with mobility we will help support them to get to doctors or hospital appointments, or if they have missed a couple of job centre appointments, to stop them getting sanctioned and losing their benefits, we will then take them to the job centre. Now, while that doesn’t teach them independence, it’s stopping them from being evicted and that’s part of what our role is, to stop them from becoming homeless and ending up back on the street.
We support lots of people from varied backgrounds, such as care leavers, who are starting on their journey of independence, people who are alcoholics or drug users in remission, so they’re on their journey of recovery. We also get people who are refugees, or escaping domestic abuse, or whose relationships have broken down.
Because we’re not family, people sometime prefer to speak to us about things such as bills, rather than asking their family for help with something they can’t do or don’t understand. I have customers who are dads and their kids look up to them. They need that extra support but don’t want their children to know about it. It can be a challenge though, because when they are faced with a problem, and they need help, they don’t want their family to get involved.
But you do get results in the end and when they offer you a cup of tea or coffee, that’s a big milestone because you know they’ve started to trust you.
Once the customers have been with us for about two years, roughly, it’s time to start moving them on, possibly with floating support. We’ll start looking at getting them rehoused somewhere suitable. I normally start helping them put in housing applications at different housing associations and providers after they’ve been with us a year and making good progress.
I enjoy my job because every day if different. Some days, it could be a day of paperwork and other days you’ve not only got your own customers to see, but you’re helping someone else on the team with theirs. Every day you are solving something.
I see my role as a bit of a life coach and it’s kind of like being a dad to lots of people and giving help and advice. The nicest part of the job is when the customers move on and they “Without your help, I wouldn’t be where I am.” You just think to yourself, yeah, I supported them to achieve that.
For me it’s like a kind of calling, you are showing people who have had such a negative impact in their lives that there are nice people out there, who do care and do want to help them achieve their ambitions and goals.
Arch Recruitment open day is happening on Wednesday 27 February from 2pm – 8pm in the board room at 308 London Road, Stoke on Trent, ST4 5AB. For more information about this drop in event, call 01782 743866.