Housing and supporting vulnerable adults

Posted on 26 June 2024

At Hyde, we work with partner agencies to house and support vulnerable adults with special needs.

This includes adults with learning and physical disabilities, mental health problems, drug and alcohol addictions, teenage parents and their children, ex-offenders, and adults that have been homeless. We also provide temporary housing to support individuals as they work towards regaining stability in their lives.

We recently caught up with Ingrid McDowell, Hyde’s Operations Manager for Supported Living, who tells us more about this important service.

A word of advice from Ingrid, who’s spent her entire career working with vulnerable people:

“Ask yourself, would you be okay with your mum living here or receiving this service – if the answer is no, then do something about it.”

Q: What does your role involve?

A: I’m one of eight Operations Managers at Hyde within our Neighbourhoods and Specialist Housing service. I manage the Supported Living team, who work really hard to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of our supported living services.

I allocate resources and monitor performance to ensure the delivery of high-quality care and services to our customers.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your team and the schemes you manage?

A: I manage a team of eight colleagues.

I have five Supported Housing Officers that manage our 126 directly- managed schemes. This means we own the scheme and provide the housing management service for the scheme.

We also work with agency partners (other housing associations, charities, support providers), who deliver specialist support to our 141 agency-managed schemes.

Q: How did you get into social housing?

A: I'd been working for a voluntary sector organisation for several years and wanted a change. I saw an advertisement for a role at an organisation that housed single homeless women. I applied, was successful and here started my career in housing.

Since then, I’ve been able develop my expertise, specialising in several areas, such as development, housing management, finance and fundraising.

This knowledge has enabled me to work with, support and provide the best service to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Q: How long have you been working at Hyde?

A: I’ve been working at Hyde for almost 12 years. I remember my first day like it was yesterday – 26 July 2012.

Q: What support do you provide for your supported residents?

A: We work closely with local authorities to provide support to our customers through specialist providers.

We refer customers for assessments where there is a concern. For example, if we recognise that accommodation is no longer fit for purpose for one of our customers or if there’s a need for more assistance. We’ll then make a referral to have our customer assessed by their local authority or social services.

Q: Can you briefly explain the process - how does someone get placed at one of your schemes?

A: We don’t hold a direct waiting list for specialist housing. Anyone wanting to know more about specialist housing, should get in touch with their local council.

You can apply for specialist housing through your council, even if you’re not already a Hyde customer.

Customers are then referred to us by their local authority.

Q: What are you doing differently since the launch of the new service?

A: My team’s priority is to improve our services and the lives of our customers.

Before we launched our Neighbourhoods and Specialist Housing service in January, we provided landlord services at our schemes, visiting them to carry our building inspections. Our schemes now have a dedicated officer on-site – our customers’ first point of contact.

We’re on a journey. There’s a lot to do in directly-managed specialist housing. My focus right now is building the team and focusing on providing good quality services to our customers, putting them at the heart of what we do.

Q: What do you most enjoy about your role?

A: Making a difference to the lives of vulnerable residents.

Q: What would you change about social/specialist housing if you could?

A: I would allocate more and appropriate funding to ensure vulnerable people in specialist housing receive the support they need, enabling them to thrive.

Q: What’s next for the Supported Living team?

A: Working with key partners to improve our specialist housing service and the standard of our homes - making sure they are fit for purpose and the best possible places to our customers to live.