The Housing Transitions Service
The Housing Transitions Service is in continuous development, striving to provide a fully strength based and personalised housing offer.
Mayday prides itself on offering an alternative model of accommodation and support. Following the completion of Wisdom from Behind Closed Doors, which captured the voices of people living in supported housing, sleeping rough and sofa-surfing, the Mayday team have worked tirelessly to transform the accommodation offer that is provided.
What does a strength based and personalised housing model look like?
Most of Mayday’s accommodation is for people going through tough times who want some help getting to the other side. The support we offer is through our Personal Transitions Service (PTS), which is separate to the accommodation.
Splitting support and accommodation resolves two issues faced by the people we work with. The first, allowing people to form trusting relationships with their PTS Asset Coach, rather than one which is impeded by evictions and talk of rent arrears. Secondly, something which was identified in Wisdom from Behind Closed Doors, by having flexible support a coach can work with a person after they move from Mayday accommodation and they can tailor the meetings and interaction with a coach to suit their own situation and circumstances.
In responding to what people told us in Wisdom from Behind Closed Doors and transforming to a strength based and personalised culture, we broke the task down and asked what is the culture and how can we change it. The Housing Transition Service (HTS) team is now working hard on the following five areas:
Who Mayday employ in HTS teams, how these teams are recruited, trained and receive on-going support is all being turned upside down. Personalised support gives individual staff much more autonomy to work with people but with this demands an increased responsibility to manage the duty of care. So members of the HTS team need to be aware of elements like power dynamics and the survival strategies that people may use to cope with the challenges of failing systems.
Mayday is moving from larger schemes of accommodation to individual flats and smaller houses where possible. This transformation has begun in Northamptonshire. Large blocks of housing and hostels can leave people vulnerable to being targeted by criminal gangs or may become institutionalised, trapped in a culture of dependency.
‘It was like being inside, my meals cooked, bills paid, I didn’t have to think about anything’
Inside the properties, Mayday has adopted the WILT (Would I Live There) standard, going beyond the legal and health and safety requirements.
People told Mayday how bureaucratic and dehumanising processes can be when you become homeless or are in need of housing. In response teams are now working hard to review all policies, procedures and processes. Changes so far include having housing conversations with people, asking about their experiences and what they are looking for, instead of housing assessments which focus only on risk and eligibility. Ensuring that people are shown respect and dignity is key.
The language Mayday uses plays a central role in strength based work. The team do not label people as alcoholics, drug addicts etc, there is no ‘them and us’. There is much debate and discussion on words and language that Mayday will and will not use. This is important to embed dignity in what the HTS does as well as ensure that the team address the power imbalance Mayday holds as a landlord as much as possible.
Mayday currently offers supported accommodation in Northamptonshire, Oxford and Westminster.