Southend's housing staff face the axe

Echo: Southend's housing staff face the axe Southend's housing staff face the axe

SHELTERED housing officers are facing redundancy and losing their homes as a housing provider tries to save £500,000.

South Essex Homes manages Southend Council’s housing stock and 22 sheltered housing schemes.

It must make the efficiencies by 2016/17.

An anonymous worker contacted the Echo after being informed they and 20 other officers who live and work in sheltered housing complexes across Southend are “at risk of redundancy”.

The employee said: “The services are being cut and residents are not being consulted.

“Staff are told to keep quiet and not tell the residents what’s going on.

“As residential staff we could lose our homes and it seems there are no plans to rehouse us. What do they expect us to do with no job?”

The anonymous worker said staff fear what the effect will be on residents if there is no one offering 24-hour support.

Their duties include daily contact and visiting residents to check on their wellbeing.

They also report repairs, manage buildings, respond to emergencies and coordinate social activities.

The changes include new roles for 17 support workers, but it is unclear how much support they will offer residents and where they will be based.

South Essex Homes declined to confirm how many sheltered housing officers it employs.

The organisation would also not answer questions about residential staff and any support to help them find new homes, the impact on residents, and what replacement service would be brought in.

A spokesman said: “We are currently in consultation with staff and residents about proposals to improve and develop the housing services it provides to the council’s homes.

“These proposals have been set out in dialogue with Southend Council and the Trades Union. The proposals are aimed at continuing to improve the service.”

Workers will be notified of redundancy by February 24.

Comments (8)

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4:12pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Druggie Scumbag says...

“Staff are told to keep quiet and not tell the residents what’s going on."

Surely this is a matter between the employee and the employer, what has it to do with residents?
“Staff are told to keep quiet and not tell the residents what’s going on." Surely this is a matter between the employee and the employer, what has it to do with residents? Druggie Scumbag
  • Score: -12

4:27pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Devils Advocate says...

Druggie Scumbag wrote:
“Staff are told to keep quiet and not tell the residents what’s going on."

Surely this is a matter between the employee and the employer, what has it to do with residents?
Really? What, I wonder, do you think the staff do at this time? Do you not think they might provide essential contact with the residents? I think you may find that sheltered housing provides a level of protection to otherwise vulnerable residents. Remove the protection and you have vulnerable residents.
In my view it has not only everything to do with the residents but also everything to do with the residents of Council houses in Southend. They voted against the housing stock being passed over to a management group and this proves that, once again, it should have been left alone but no, finger in the pie is everywhere!
[quote][p][bold]Druggie Scumbag[/bold] wrote: “Staff are told to keep quiet and not tell the residents what’s going on." Surely this is a matter between the employee and the employer, what has it to do with residents?[/p][/quote]Really? What, I wonder, do you think the staff do at this time? Do you not think they might provide essential contact with the residents? I think you may find that sheltered housing provides a level of protection to otherwise vulnerable residents. Remove the protection and you have vulnerable residents. In my view it has not only everything to do with the residents but also everything to do with the residents of Council houses in Southend. They voted against the housing stock being passed over to a management group and this proves that, once again, it should have been left alone but no, finger in the pie is everywhere! Devils Advocate
  • Score: 12

4:47pm Tue 4 Feb 14

the25man says...

Blame the money having to be spent on the tower blocks
Blame the money having to be spent on the tower blocks the25man
  • Score: -1

4:58pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Cockle says...

Devils Advocate wrote:
Druggie Scumbag wrote:
“Staff are told to keep quiet and not tell the residents what’s going on."

Surely this is a matter between the employee and the employer, what has it to do with residents?
Really? What, I wonder, do you think the staff do at this time? Do you not think they might provide essential contact with the residents? I think you may find that sheltered housing provides a level of protection to otherwise vulnerable residents. Remove the protection and you have vulnerable residents.
In my view it has not only everything to do with the residents but also everything to do with the residents of Council houses in Southend. They voted against the housing stock being passed over to a management group and this proves that, once again, it should have been left alone but no, finger in the pie is everywhere!
Absolutely, Devils Advocate.

It is also the concern of the families of these vulnerable residents, the whole reasoning behind sheltered accommodation is that the level of support provided enables these residents to maintain an independent lifestyle with a minimum of intervention.
The level of monitoring is designed that should support be required it can be provided in a timely manner and this is a great comfort to the families of the residents.
I have experience of this in action, a relative suffered a fall in the early hours of the morning and was just able to raise the alarm via her emergency call system, the housing officers were able to immediately call an ambulance and notify the family, who were onsite within 20 minutes and were able to comfort the victim until the ambulance arrived and accompany her to hospital. The lady concerned was in hospital for a few days and made a full recovery, returning home and continues to be able to live in an independent way. Had she lain on the floor unable to summon this timely help she may have become a different sort of story in the paper or have ended up in residential care at far greater cost to society.
Incidentally, the residents pay for this support within their rents, it is not provided for free, so I would expect that they will see a commensurate reduction in rent if this support is reduced; I won't hold my breath, though.
[quote][p][bold]Devils Advocate[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Druggie Scumbag[/bold] wrote: “Staff are told to keep quiet and not tell the residents what’s going on." Surely this is a matter between the employee and the employer, what has it to do with residents?[/p][/quote]Really? What, I wonder, do you think the staff do at this time? Do you not think they might provide essential contact with the residents? I think you may find that sheltered housing provides a level of protection to otherwise vulnerable residents. Remove the protection and you have vulnerable residents. In my view it has not only everything to do with the residents but also everything to do with the residents of Council houses in Southend. They voted against the housing stock being passed over to a management group and this proves that, once again, it should have been left alone but no, finger in the pie is everywhere![/p][/quote]Absolutely, Devils Advocate. It is also the concern of the families of these vulnerable residents, the whole reasoning behind sheltered accommodation is that the level of support provided enables these residents to maintain an independent lifestyle with a minimum of intervention. The level of monitoring is designed that should support be required it can be provided in a timely manner and this is a great comfort to the families of the residents. I have experience of this in action, a relative suffered a fall in the early hours of the morning and was just able to raise the alarm via her emergency call system, the housing officers were able to immediately call an ambulance and notify the family, who were onsite within 20 minutes and were able to comfort the victim until the ambulance arrived and accompany her to hospital. The lady concerned was in hospital for a few days and made a full recovery, returning home and continues to be able to live in an independent way. Had she lain on the floor unable to summon this timely help she may have become a different sort of story in the paper or have ended up in residential care at far greater cost to society. Incidentally, the residents pay for this support within their rents, it is not provided for free, so I would expect that they will see a commensurate reduction in rent if this support is reduced; I won't hold my breath, though. Cockle
  • Score: 7

5:32pm Tue 4 Feb 14

jolllyboy says...

This is the most appalling type of cost cutting I have heard to date. Sheltered housing is offered and sheltered it should be. Rents are priced accordingly.Access is often secure. This will just put pressure on other budgets as some will need to go into care homes - which again are now limited as the council seek to close those too. This just goes to prove to me that Long armed management does not work. Are South Essex Homes scared to spend money, I think it is time for everyone to go back and be employed directly so we can ensure we have value for moneyand accountability in our council tax. Pity every tenant was not given a questionnaire for their opinion, cleverly they probably only asked for people to write in or go on line for their opinion which tenants would be a little afraid to do as it would not be totally anon. e are stuck with SE Homes till 2016.
What more can this council do. If this happens it will only go onto Social Care Budget.
This is the most appalling type of cost cutting I have heard to date. Sheltered housing is offered and sheltered it should be. Rents are priced accordingly.Access is often secure. This will just put pressure on other budgets as some will need to go into care homes - which again are now limited as the council seek to close those too. This just goes to prove to me that Long armed management does not work. Are South Essex Homes scared to spend money, I think it is time for everyone to go back and be employed directly so we can ensure we have value for moneyand accountability in our council tax. Pity every tenant was not given a questionnaire for their opinion, cleverly they probably only asked for people to write in or go on line for their opinion which tenants would be a little afraid to do as it would not be totally anon. e are stuck with SE Homes till 2016. What more can this council do. If this happens it will only go onto Social Care Budget. jolllyboy
  • Score: 5

7:23pm Tue 4 Feb 14

whataday says...

Druggie Scumbag wrote:
“Staff are told to keep quiet and not tell the residents what’s going on."

Surely this is a matter between the employee and the employer, what has it to do with residents?
It will have an impact on the care they (the residents) receive so they should have a voice in this
[quote][p][bold]Druggie Scumbag[/bold] wrote: “Staff are told to keep quiet and not tell the residents what’s going on." Surely this is a matter between the employee and the employer, what has it to do with residents?[/p][/quote]It will have an impact on the care they (the residents) receive so they should have a voice in this whataday
  • Score: 3

5:30am Wed 5 Feb 14

You'dfeelbetterforknowingthat says...

Sign of the times, money will be saved at any cost, some easier to stomach than other, but alas a sign of the times.
Sign of the times, money will be saved at any cost, some easier to stomach than other, but alas a sign of the times. You'dfeelbetterforknowingthat
  • Score: 2

1:01pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Guider says...

Hi my mum lives in sheltered housing and she got a letter from the council yesterday. Stating that it is not true that is in the echo. And farver more I live in a tower block and they need doing up badly. So don't blame it on the tower blocks.
Hi my mum lives in sheltered housing and she got a letter from the council yesterday. Stating that it is not true that is in the echo. And farver more I live in a tower block and they need doing up badly. So don't blame it on the tower blocks. Guider
  • Score: 0

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