Staff Spotlight: Simeon, Multiple Needs Worker

What is your role at Emmanuel House?

I have been a Multiple Needs Worker in the Wellbeing Support Team since September 2020.

My main aim is to promote independence within the community. I support people to address their health and wellbeing needs, as well as helping them into accommodation in order to reduce homelessness. I help people to learn vital skills that will help them to gain and maintain accommodation.

Seeing my clients achieving their personal goals and making a difference to their lives makes it all worth while. I get a lot of job satisfaction from this.

It’s important to have a caring, non-judgmental approach, letting people know they are not alone and that their voice is being heard.

What impact does your work have on someone who is at risk or experiencing homelessness?

For someone who is in crisis, it is vital that we support them to access services to do with financial hardship, health issues, homelessness, drug and alcohol problems or trauma, but many of my clients often face barriers when trying to access these services. My role is the missing link between these services and those who need help.

How does your role impact the wider community in the city of Nottingham?

I really believe in the power of communication and the value of our partnerships with the different services available in Nottingham. This has a huge impact on the wider community, because the more we communicate, the more help we can get, which enables us to support people before they get to a crisis point.

I often liaise with community leaders and the police to educate them about all the different circumstances that people are currently facing, as well as discussing how we can come together to help the wider community.

Can you give an example of a difference that you made to someone who accessed the services at Emmanuel House recently?

Case study: Matthew*

When we first met Matthew*, he was sleeping in a tent opposite the hotel, which is where our night shelter was running.  During this time, he was arrested and received a suspended sentence. The serving of his sentence was delayed to allow for a period of probation.  

He had been released from prison into accommodation for ex-offenders, people with mental health problems and those who have issues with substance abuse, but had been evicted. He had had a family breakdown and no longer had contact with his mother.

In October 2020, the Street Outreach team secured a room for him at the hotel, where he started working with Simeon. Matthew stayed there for 3 months accessing the support available to him.

Matthew has had a number of serious long-term mental and physical health problems, many of them starting at birth. He hadn’t accessed the GP for many years so Simeon provided practical support by arranging appointments, ensuring he had the right medication for his mental health and helping him to manage his repeat prescriptions.

“Sometimes it is simple things like setting a reminder on someone’s phone to take their medication if they are experiencing memory loss. I also called him each day to make sure he had taken his pills.”

Simeon connected with a local service that offers support with issues of re-offending and drug use and offered emotional support at each appointment.

“We often went on wellbeing walks, when we’d talk about his feelings and emotions whilst doing some reflection work. We are continually working on his anger management.”

Matthew’s benefits had been stopped, so Simeon advocated for him to reinstate his payments and worked with Matthew on his debt management. Simeon completed a housing register application on his behalf and he was able to move in to a local supported accommodation provider.

Simeon helped him with the move and provided tenancy support, but after three months, they found that Matthew’s support needs were too high for the particular service and the area wasn’t suitable due to previous connections. By liaising with the staff team, Simeon, Housing Aid and the Homeless Prevention Team were able to ensure his safety after he was evicted. After a few nights rough sleeping, Simeon found him further emergency hotel provision.

At a court hearing for a previous conviction, Simeon was able to advocate for Matthew, alongside his solicitor, detailing their support work, accommodation, reflective practice and plans to move forward and he spoke about Matthew’s historic traumas. The judge commended the support he was receiving and subsequent progress and issued a court fine instead of activating his suspended sentence.  

After stays at other supported accommodation and evictions from emergency hotel provision, Simeon moved Matthew into a housing scheme that aims to facilitate independent living. Matthew is still living at this accommodation and continues to be supported by Simeon. His mental health has improved and he’s independently managing his medication.


Case study: Selina*

When we first met Selina*, she had been in prison for two months. She had been living in supported accommodation, but it was unsuitable because of a previous stay. Following her eviction she was advised to call the Street Outreach team. She arrived at the hotel and met Simeon, who became her support worker.

Selina had serious ongoing physical and mental health issues so Simeon helped her to arrange GP appointments. She had no benefits but within one day, Simeon was able to advocate for her benefits to be reinstated and set up a new bank account.

Simeon referred Selina to a BME-specific drug and alcohol recovery support service and supported her at the appointments. He also worked with her to ensure she met all other criteria for her probation worker.

To meet the requirements of her electronic tag, she needed permanent accommodation, so Selina moved into her sister’s house. However due to difficulties in the relationship, it wasn’t a long-term arrangement.

At this time Selina got into a relationship that became extremely abusive. Simeon offered daily emotional support and safeguarding advice over the phone. This included supporting Selina whilst reporting the violence to the police, including completing the necessary paperwork and liaising with Women’s Aid to access the appropriate level of support.

“At this point, I was seeing Selina up to five times a week. I was the only consistent, positive person in her life.”

Simeon

Her subsequent accommodation was a shared house, which became unsuitable due to the financial abuse she experienced whilst living there. Simeon worked with the housing provider to maintain her financial security and helped her to access a more suitable housing option.

Since moving into a 2-bedroom supported house, her mental health has significantly improved. She has a passport, has applied for a provisional driving license and is working towards doing a nail technician course. She is continuing to press charges against her partner. She is exploring volunteer opportunities and is helping organise a cookery course.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.