Safeguarding a vulnerable resident
This week is National Safeguarding Adults Week – a time for us to recognise the importance of identifying safeguarding issues and working to help those involved.
Safeguarding is all about protecting people and putting measures in place to better look after the health, wellbeing and human rights of individuals. As a landlord, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to make sure our customers are as safe as possible whilst living in our homes.
Below is a story about how one of our Tenancy Services Officers recently identified safeguarding concerns with one of our residents and helped him to put measures in place to better protect himself.
*the name of the resident has been changed for anonymity
Receiving a referral
Recently, one of our operatives raised concerns about a customer they had fitted a new bathroom for. It was Winter and the operative had noticed that the property was extremely cold so he was concerned about the customers wellbeing.
A case was raised for Georgina, one of our Tenancy Service Officers to investigate. If we have concerns about a customer’s wellbeing or living conditions we usually arrange a home visit to understand the issues and see how we can support them.
Georgina realised that we did not have any contact details such as a phone number or email address to contact the customer in advance so she planned to visit him at home.
Carrying out a wellbeing check
When Georgina arrived at the property, she immediately had some safeguarding concerns. She was able to confirm that Mr Roberts* home was exceptionally cold and after having a chat with him, she discovered that he would wrap up in lots of layers to keep warm as he had no electricity and his gas was capped. The gas meter had been removed almost 10 years earlier and Mr Roberts had never arranged to get a new one fitted.
It’s really important that you contact us when you move into your home to arrange for you gas meter to be uncapped. This is known as a turn on and test appointment. During the appointment our Gas Safe engineers will carry out a gas safety check. If for any reason your energy supplier removes your meter, you'll need to contact them directly to get a new one fitted.
Georgina also noticed that Mr Roberts clothing was unclean and his shoes were so worn that you could see his toes poking through one of his shoes. Mr Roberts also told Georgina he hadn’t received any income for the past 7 months as he was unable to complete his pension forms.
When Georgina inspected the property, she found that the cupboards were completely bare and he didn’t have any food. Mr Roberts explained that he went to his local church once a day for a hot meal and sometimes had to beg in his local area to get enough money to buy bread, which would last him for a few days.
Working together to offer support
Georgina knew this was a safeguarding case and the customer needed our help. She worked with Mr Roberts and the Money Advice Team to fill out and submit his pension forms so that he could receive a regular income. Our Money Advice Team even managed to get his pension payments back dated.
Whilst this was being resolved they provided emergency electric vouchers and supported him to get food from a local foodbank. Georgina also spoke to the Salvation Army who helped Mr Roberts to get some new shoes to see him through the rest of the winter.
Georgina said, “Mr Roberts couldn’t have been more grateful for my involvement and the help of Joe from the Money Advice Team. He was so appreciative of all the steps that were made to support him and for any referrals we suggested. I’ve seen him a couple of times since the case was closed as I work with other customers in the area so it’s nice to show my face and remind them that we’re still here if he needs anything.”
“We sometimes get safeguarding cases where the customer is reluctant to engage with us and this can be for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s through a lack of understanding of the job we do and the ways we can help. Sometimes it’s embarrassment or shame about how bad things have gotten. There are so many reasons but I’m yet to come across a safeguarding case where there is absolutely nothing we can do to improve a situation for someone.”
Georgina, Tenancy Services Officer
Do you need our help?
It can be a struggle to keep up with changes in benefit application processes and understanding what help you’re entitled to. We’ve put together a list of support that is available which you can view here.
Our Money Advice Team are also here to help, they can advise you about benefits and assistance that you’re entitled to and the service is free for our customers.
If you have concerns about the wellbeing of any of our customers, please contact our Customer Hub on 0345 60 20 540.