Through recent turbulent times, it could be said that the UK has done more to acknowledge the issue of homelessness – and put in place support networks – than ever before. Homeless support workers have long been part of the social care worker family but are being recognised now more than ever.
So what is being a homeless support worker all about? Read on …
How is ‘homelessness’ defined?
The definition of homelessness is as literal as it sounds – the circumstance of not having a home to live in. However, as social care workers working with and for this community will tell you, it is much broader than the immediate mental image that may spring to mind. To be ‘homeless’ could mean you’re sleeping on friend’s sofas, crashing at family temporarily, living in a specialist shelter, hostel or B&B, or at threat of violence or abuse in your home.
Anyone has the potential to become homeless, but there are certain groups of people who are more at risk of it happening to them: those leaving home for the first time, those leaving a care setting, those leaving prison, asylum seekers and refugees, those travelling from abroad and those struggling to ‘get by’ on benefits.
Anyone affected by homelessness may need additional care and support and so, depending on their individual situation, may be assigned a social carer or homeless support worker.
What is a homeless shelter?
Homeless shelters take on a variety of different forms and offer a variety of different services and facilities, but typically are a specialist centre offering temporary accommodation to those who are homeless. Some such shelters are run by local authorities, but lots are managed by charities and grassroots community groups.
Almost all have carers specialising in homelessness social care attending to support their service users regularly. Where these carers come from depends on the individual shelter – they may be supplied by the local council or though a specialist care agency or employer.
What does a Homeless Support Worker do?
Homeless support workers provide invaluable support to those suffering from homelessness. The scope of their care may depend on the environment within which they’re offering it, the needs of the individual and the support requested by the individual.
Aside from the personal care support usually offered by social care workers, homeless support workers often help with tasks such as advising clients of their rights, collating information on hostel vacancies and housing, nurturing clients into training and employment, and helping informing on and applying for various state benefits.
What skills do you need to be a Homeless Support Worker?
A very special kind of person becomes a successful homeless support worker, and their skills and personality traits are plentiful and varied. They must be adaptable and flexible in their attitudes and reactions, and able to pick up new work and adapt to new situations quickly. Patience is a really imperative trait – as often the path of getting individuals housed and improving life quality is not linear, nor straightforward.
Compassionate, empathetic people fit this role well, but must be able to continue that compassion and care even through difficult and challenging situations.
What kind of salary can a Homeless Support Worker earn?
The salary bracket for homeless support workers can, as with any care role, vary hugely dependent on experience, qualifications, settings and employer or agency. However, broadly speaking, the average salary for this role is £23,000 starting around the £19,000 mark and rising to up to £35,000 dependent on role. The higher end roles include homeless shelter managers and senior social workers.
Jobs for Homeless Support Workers with OUTT
YES, we have jobs for those working in this sector!
Homeless support workers are key to the care sector, and very much in demand. Pre-register with OUTT now and benefit from the early registration exclusive perks!
Registering with OUTT provides experienced social care candidates the opportunity to build an employer review base and take full control of where and when they work. It’s your life, live it! Register with us now!