Homeless Prevention Project Officer
1 Year Fixed Term Contract
Centrally located in the Thames Gateway, Gravesham Borough Council provides a range of services to over 106,000 people and 4,000 businesses.
The Borough of Gravesham, situated in the north west corner of Kent, covers 25,000 acres of the most varied countryside in south east England.
Bordered by the River Thames to the north, it is at the heart of Thames Gateway and has a significant role to play in the regeneration of a major government growth area
Gravesham Borough Council is committed to delivering to the community and working with us means you are part of delivering the level of growth and improvement our community needs and deserves.
To work on a specific project supporting Gravesham Councils delivery of homelessness prevention services. The aim of the project is to target early intervention and support to individuals or households the Council has identified through predictive analytics, as suffering financial exclusion and at risk of future homelessness
Undertake a range of specialist tasks including:
- Provide an effective and customer-friendly service of early intervention to clients identified through predictive analytics, as suffering financial exclusion and/or at risk of future homelessness.
- Carry a caseload of customers and assisting them in tackling financial exclusion including debt, budgeting issues, benefit reduction, maximising income and accessing funding available to support the customer.
- Provide initial advice services to clients through personal or telephone interviews, correspondence, advocacy, home visiting and outreach work.
- Be proactive in preventing homelessness, by helping customers to sustain their current accommodation, or where appropriate assist in securing more suitable and affordable accommodation.
- Advise clients on a full range of housing options, including the Council’s Housing Register, private renting, mortgage advice, supported accommodation options and shared ownership.
- Carry out income and expenditure assessments in order to access affordable housing options and affordability for homelessness prevention loans.
- Liaise with landlords to negotiate options to enable tenants to retain their tenancy, by helping to resolve rent arrears and agreeing repayment plans.
- Advise clients of available tenancy support services including income maximisation, Discretionary Housing Payments, under-occupation schemes, mutual exchange, debt and rent arrears advice and Housing Benefit support.
- Establish networks with Homelessness Prevention Officers and Welfare Benefits/Financial Inclusion Advisers in similar organisations in order to share experience and good practice
- Provide early intervention support and conciliation in the case of family/friend relationship breakdowns to prevent family/friend exclusions.
- Support the Council’s strategic objective of reducing the expenditure on temporary accommodation by exploring all options for temporary accommodation arrangements and working with other teams and agencies to help customers move on to appropriate permanent housing.
- Create and maintain accurate up to date electronic records and produce statistical returns, as well as ensuring a robust audit trail.
Skills & Abilities
- Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills both verbal and written
- Excellent negotiation skills.
- Be organised and have a good attention to detail.
- Ability to communicate effectively with customers and professionals from a variety of backgrounds.
- Ability to deal with difficult customers
- Be a competent user of IT applications including standard office software packages e.g. word and excel
- Ability to work under pressure and prioritise work effectively with minimal supervision.
- Ability to solve problems effectively
- Willingness to work as part of a team and develop effective and supportive relationships with colleagues.
- Able to deal with a range of customers sensitively and be committed to exploring the most suitable housing options for households.
- Ability to write reports and understand corporate processes.
- Knowledge of Tenancy law, Housing law, Eligibility Regulations and housing advice relating to Housing Options.
- Relevant experience and knowledge of providing housing advice. Substantial working knowledge of Housing Options and experience of writing formal decision letters.
- 4 GCSE’s at grade C or above, including Maths and English, or equivalent qualifications
- Level 3 Certificate and/or Level 4 diploma in Housing Studies or equivalent.
- Experience in a housing related role offering housing advice.
- Experience of making decisions in accordance with Part VII Housing Act A996.
- Experience of dealing with difficult customers and conflict management.
- Experience of working within a busy environment.
- Experience of working with housing related computer systems.
In return we offer you:
A generous holiday entitlement, plus paid bank holidays.
In-house and external training including non-qualification, Continued Personal Development (CPD), NVQ and other qualification training.
Employee Assistance Programme
The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a free and confidential support service, offering you unlimited access to advice and information as well as coaching and counselling where appropriate.
Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the service is there to help you manage all of life's events and support you through the challenges. Their expert advisers are there to help, whenever you need them. Support on the telephone, online and face to face.
A very secure pension scheme which both you and we pay into. More information can be found on the Local Government Pension Scheme website.
An on-site Occupational Health Advisor. We have an occupational health service provided by East Kent Hospitals University Foundation NHS Trust. The service is delivered by a team of health professionals who specialise in occupational medicine and deal with the relationship between your work and your health. Occupational Health also works with us to resolve any issues in the workplace and also to ensure that well-being at work is maintained.
If you would like to have an informal discussion with the recruiting manager call <> on 01474 337707.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate all essential requirements as listed in the job profile
Equal Opportunities Commitment Statement
Gravesham Borough Council is committed to creating an inclusive work environment with a diverse workforce. All appropriately qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or age
Please be advised that if you are not contacted within 3 weeks of the advert closing date then you have not been shortlisted. All recruitment correspondence, including interview letters and contracts of employment will usually be sent out via email.
We reserve the right to close this vacancy at any time prior to the closing date.