At Concrete, it’s our mission to make homelessness history. To achieve this, we need to make sure that people have the right tools to start a new chapter and break the cycle of homelessness.
Housing doesn’t have to be a string of temporary fixes. We want people to know how to live independently and manage a tenancy on their own. That’s why we launched our brand new Tenancy Sustainment service earlier this year!
The team supports customers living in Concrete properties across Staffordshire, helping them with all aspects of their tenancy. They work hard to equip them with the skills they need to one day manage a home of their own independently.
This includes day-to-day property maintenance, utilities, health and safety and paying service charges and bills on time. They can also signpost customers to other support services if they need some extra guidance.
Team Leader Dean heads up the new service which includes eight Tenancy Sustainment Officers. They started their new roles in May, so we caught up with them to find out how they’ve been helping us make homelessness history!
Team Leader Dean said: “Tenancy Sustainment is all about supporting a customer to sustain their tenancy. We’re there to make sure they can run it to the best of their ability.
“We give customers that little bit of extra help and we’re there every step of the way.
“It’s an absolutely brand-new team for Concrete. It’s something that we’ve never had before but it’s a really important part of making homelessness history.”
The role of a Tenancy Sustainment Officer (TSO) is really varied. In the morning they could be welcoming a new customer to Concrete and by the afternoon they might be helping an existing one with their final move-on to their own independent tenancy.
TSOs also make sure that customers utilities are set-up and properties are in a good state of repair. They regularly check in with customers and are always available for a chat, to make sure everything is OK.
Another part of the Tenancy Sustainment Team’s job is supporting customers to engage with different services. This includes Service Coordinators here at Concrete, external partners or courses that we arrange through local providers.
Our new Tenancy Sustainment Officers have experience working within the homelessness sector and lived experience too.
Tenancy Sustainment Officer Jayne works across Concrete properties in Stoke and Hanley. She said: “My favourite part of this kind of role is when you help people progress.
“In the past I’ve had people who have told me to ‘go away’ every day. Then after lots of hard work they reach a point where they are moving into a flat of their own.
“It’s never fully down to me, but I have provided the support. That’s the really rewarding side that I enjoy. On those days I go home and think, ‘yeah I’ve done a good job’.”
Tenancy Sustainment Officer Shabana covers Tunstall. She said: “We help customers prepare to manage their own independent tenancy one day. This includes everything from supporting them to pay their bills and service charges, to helping them with weekly food shopping. We make sure the practical support is there.
“We regulary work with other agencies and signpost. If a customer is struggling with something, we make sure they have the right support in place to help them with that.”
Tenancy Sustainment Officer Riz covers Stoke, Penkhull and Longton. He said: “We want customers to move into a welcoming environment, so their property feels like home straightaway.
“I have lived experience, so I wanted to use that to help customers build bridges towards independence.”