#CrisisCareersHeroes Profile: Homeless Support Worker

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A graphic depicting a homeless support worker

Deb is a senior link support worker working at a homeless centre. As part of this week's #CrisisCareersHeroes campaign, she talks about how the coronavirus crisis has affected her day-to-day work.

Name: Deb Smith
Job title: Senior link support worker
Employer: Jimmy's
#CrisisCareersHeroes field of work: Keeping our public services going
Career Zone: Social Care

What does your job involve?

We usually work with 26 homeless individuals male and female who arrive with various issues including mental health, physical health, addictions, PTSD, relationship breakdowns etc. We then signpost them to the different organisations who specialize in the issues to get the appropriate support they need. We then support people to make benefit claims if needed, access the GP surgery and also find more suitable permanent accommodation to move onto.

How has coronavirus affected your job?

Challenges include:

  • Having to reduce the number of beds from 26 to 20 so everyone can have their own room. We then have to tell people who are waiting to come in that there will be an even longer wait.
  • Getting people with various issues to take the guidelines seriously and completely change the habits they have engaged in for a number of years.
  • Identifying who is suitable to come in for a bed based on who is least likely to put others at risk, and trying to adhere to the guidelines.
  • Trying to explain the consequences of people's actions even though they might think what have done is harmless.
  • As staff, worrying about going home and accidentally spreading the virus to loved ones due to the nature of the  environment we work in.

Today, we're highlight workers who are looking after us during the coronavirus crisis as part of our #CrisisCareersHeroes campaign. Check out our article here.

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