Mind the Supported Housing #5

I’ve just had a health and safety (H&S) check.

Firstly, at least here, two support workers need to be present for a H&S check, although I’m not sure why. Initially, I thought it was because of their own safety, but now I’m not sure as I’ve had many support sessions over here with just my support worker alone.

The requirement of two support workers means that there’s a chance H&S checks will be postponed until two workers are free for the check. Although nothing major, it’s worth noting that this can result in us been given the run-around, which can be incredibly frustrating.

A day or two prior to the H&S check, each tenant receives a letter through the post informing them of the upcoming check. Sometimes the letter comes with a small list of things for which they will be looking, such as hoovered floors, cleaned appliances, and emptied bins.

All rooms are checked, but it’s a very quick look, especially where the bedrooms are concerned. I used to worry that the workers would rifle through my stuff, but nope, not so.

The electric and gas meters are noted down, no doubt to ensure we’re not doing something elaborate which costs them a fortune. They may ask us to get the meter values ourselves, ready to hand to them when they come for the check.

The workers do have spare keys to access your property and the bedrooms, but they claim that they prefer the tenant(s) to be present to let them in and answer any questions, such as if everything is working as it should.

It is a scary idea that someone has keys to your private belongings other than yourself, but it is typically for emergencies. Although it’s common that a landlord will have a spare set of keys for emergencies and I presume legal reasons, it can be a scary concept for someone with mental health problems.

The checks usually take place between midday and five o’clock in the afternoon. The times at which they will perform the check seem to be only on their terms, which can be quite an issue with those who struggle with sleep, as I do.

The support workers I’ve been involved with have been, for the most part, friendly, understanding, and patient, as I believe they should be, especially when dealing with people who can be potentially very unwell.

The check is meant to take place every month, but I have known them to be skipped or greatly postponed, but that has only happened at the place I’m at now.

As far as I know, the office, and the houses or flats under which it supports and maintains, is for those who’re more independent and generally doing well, so perhaps that has something to do with their apparent lack of concern in contrast to the previous place.

All in all, the H&S checks are not too invasive, and they, at least for me, have been taken respectfully and to ensure that we and the household are OK. Obviously maintaining a household is an important part of independent living, so it’s good that they ensure we are on top of that, and if we’re not, they would offer us help.

Part 6 can be found via this link!

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