Homelessness Money Advisor - Fixed Term Contract/Secondment until 31st March 2022
Salary: Band 7 - £25,481 - £29,577 p.a.
37 hours per week
Portsmouth City Council’s Housing Needs, Advice & Support Service works directly with customers to help deal with housing issues and prevent homelessness in the city.
We are a busy front-line service dealing directly with customers, many of whom are vulnerable and/or facing homelessness. The service assess and advise customers on the Housing Needs, Advice & Support available to them, provide support services to vulnerable people and rough sleepers, provide temporary accommodation and link with providers to help people move into more permanent accommodation.
We support our customers to solve their problems and meet their responsibilities, which includes paying their rent. In supporting our residents we seek to maximise their income, prioritise outgoings and resolve debt.
If you believe you can make a valuable, positive contribution to our team then please read below for more about the role. Please take the time to read the instructions carefully to ensure your application is not disregarded.
What's in it for me?
The salary band for our Money Advisors is £25,481 to £29,577. You will be entitled to 26 days holiday per year (plus bank holidays). The Council also offers a generous Pension Scheme and other staff benefits including free eye tests, discounts at local venues and childcare vouchers!
We value our employees and want them to reach their full potential. Although there is an induction period, you will be expected to learn on the job with the full support of the management team and your peers. Additional training is available if appropriate and as necessary.
What is the job?
This is not a traditional Money Advisor role. Working as part of the Housing Needs, Advice and Support team there are two parts to the role. Firstly you will work with our residents in our rough sleeping pathway and prospective and current private sector tenants and landlords. By maximising income, reducing debt, and agreeing payment plans you will look to support residents to secure housing, seek to sustain tenancies and prevent eviction. The second part of the role is sharing your expertise in welfare benefits, debts and budgeting in order to develop the skills of others to deliver appropriate advice.
You will support customers to deal with the common financial issues that they face - offering the right support and advice in relation to finances and debts in a sympathetic and non-judgmental manner. You will aim to ensure that our customers have all the information they need to make informed choices that allow them to cope financially, and develop their skills and confidence to manage their financial affairs independently into the future.
You will be involved in ensuring that appropriate robust financial statements (income and expenditure forms) are developed. Working alone, or in partnership with Housing Needs Officers you will look for opportunities to maximise income, including exploring work opportunities, completing manual calculations of benefit entitlement and checking benefit awards. You will provide support in pursuing relevant claims and appeals.
In identifying priority and non-priority debts you will explore where changes in spending can be made and will support customers to negotiate with creditors for payment plans to reduce debts owing; explore grants and schemes relating to fuel debt and poverty; and you will look for opportunities to make charity applications to help residents resolve their situation and maintain financial independence.
You will support the customer to explore all options available and when appropriate you will then take the lead on more complex matters. This may include administering DRO's and assisting with the Bankruptcy process, or referring to an appropriate agency to complete this work.
This is a complex role and you will need to display empathy, understanding, confidence, patience and tenacity. This role may include visiting customers in their own home as well as office visits, telephone calls and virtual meetings.
The role requires you to keep up to date with current legislation and welfare benefit changes as they happen, and be fully aware of welfare reform, as you will also provide training and briefing sessions to other housing staff. As a member of a wider supportive money advice team you will be able to share knowledge, learning and good practice, continually seeking to develop the Service and respond to changes in government policy, having identified the potential effect of the change on residents and the organisation.
Who is the Person?
Remember to demonstrate why you are suitable against each of the points below through descriptive examples from work / personal experience which clearly illustrate what you did and where appropriate the outcome achieved.
You need to:
- Demonstrate a good working knowledge of welfare benefits preferably with experience of supporting and advocating for customers.
- Have experience of supporting customers with budgeting advice and advising on priority and non-priority debts, you may hold a relevant qualification, though applications are also welcomed from those without formal qualifications.
- Be approachable, supportive and non-judgemental, and able to foster positive working relationships with customers, colleagues and other professionals.
- Be able to listen well and use effective questioning skills to drill down into the root causes of customers' problems.
- Be competent at understanding complex information and relaying to customers in clear and simple terms to ensure the best outcome for the customer.
- Have strong written and verbal communication skills to enable effective negotiation with creditors or other professionals where appropriate.
- Have experience of developing others in performing effectively in their role, with the confidence to reflect with them on the quality of their interactions.
- Be self-motivated with the ability to work without support and with a willingness to keep your knowledge up to date through your own research.
- Have an understanding of the wider social issues that affect our tenants.
- Be competent with using Microsoft software including: Excel, Word and Outlook and be able to use IT systems to keep clear, accurate, concise and methodical records.
- Be flexible as you may be required to work from any of the 7 area housing offices to cover periods of sickness and annual leave. You may be required to carry out visits outside of normal working hours.
- Ideally have a current driving licence and daily use of a vehicle; however this is not essential to the role.
There is no set closing date - we will shortlist as the advert goes along and contact shortlisted applicants as & when. We may close the advert early if we receive enough suitable applications.
If you have any questions, or would like an informal discussion about the role, please call Nicola Clannachan on 023 9260 6201.