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Meet Steve from Housing Support

Published on 20 July 2020 10:39 AM

Meet Steve – Housing Support Worker

Meet Steve, he’s worked as a Housing Support Worker for Age UK Bristol since 2007.

Steve is one of the Age UK Bristol’s Housing Support team, providing our clients with support to remain independent at home for longer.

On a weekly basis, Steve supports over 20 regular clients in and around the Bristol area, building up a close relationship with them and advocating on their behalf when needed. He helps them with forms, sorting out their benefits and making sure they have the help they need to stay at home. Some of the clients Steve supports have ongoing mental health and health issues that can restrict their independence.

Since lockdown, the face to face visits that usually take place have had to be suspended. In the early weeks of lockdown, Steve arranged for emergency food parcels and meals for the more vulnerable of his clients and has also been doing shopping deliveries for older people who are self-isolating. “Everyone was really chuffed to receive the parcels,” says Steve, “I think for many of them they had been worried about being forgotten so this was a reminder that we were still looking out for them.”

As the lockdown has eased, Steve has done doorstep welfare visits to clients to check they have everything they need. Steve arranges the visit in advance and once there, knocks on the door before retreating to a safe distance so that he can speak to the client face to face whilst maintaining social distancing.

“A lot of the people we work with are stressed and concerned” says Steve. “They appreciate seeing a familiar face even if it’s from afar.”

“I enjoy the job because you are making a difference and helping people. There are lots of things we take for granted in the modern world like online banking, automatic phone systems, social media, that can be a struggle for older people. Our role is to support older people to continue living independently where possible. The pandemic and lockdown have made that more difficult at times.”

One of Steve’s regular clients has been self-isolating and although she had enough money in her account for her rent and utilities payments, she was used to withdrawing cash from the bank for her weekly purchases. Steve has been going to the bank on her behalf and withdrawing the money for her. This has meant that Steve’s client has been able to pay for food deliveries in cash.

“We’re a voice for marginalised older people who can get forgotten at the best of times, and it’s not the best of times now. We are here to speak out for our clients so they aren’t forgotten.”

We are asking for people to give a donation to our Emergency Appeal to help us continue our work during the Coronavirus pandemic.