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Housing staff receive specialist training to cope with tenants' 'increasingly challenging behaviour'

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Housing staff receive specialist training to cope with tenants' 'increasingly challenging behaviour'

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing

Housing staff receive specialist training to cope with tenants' 'increasingly challenging behaviour' Housing staff receive specialist training to cope with tenants' 'increasingly challenging behaviour'

Housing officers are receiving extra training to cope with the increasingly challenging behaviour of tenants hit by the government's welfare reforms.

And more than half of frontline housing staff say they have experienced suicide threats from tenants in the past six months.

Neighbourhood and rent collection officers at the New Charter Housing Trust Group, which owns around 19,500 homes in Tameside, Oldham and Nottingham, are among the first in the country to receive the specialist 'Shielf of Support' training.

The training follows independent research carried out by Straightforward which found that 22% of housing officers at New Charter (Tameside) and Aksa Homes (Oldham) were dealing with ‘significantly more challenging’ issues compared to those six months ago.

Employees interviewed said this was down to a number of things including ‘welfare reform, more people in financial pressures and increased mental health issues’ among tenants.

Almost 41% of housing officers said they were seeing ‘many more’ tenants in financial difficulty since April last year. A total of 57% also said they had experienced threats of suicide from tenants.

Around 400 housing officers at the trust have so far taken part in the ‘Shield of Support’ training.

Ian Munro, chief executive of the New Charter Housing Trust Group, said: “Welfare reform has had a huge impact on our tenants, with some 1,800 of our most vulnerable customers affected by the Bedroom Tax across Tameside and Oldham.

“We’ve had to respond to this by offering more support to tenants as well as looking at the business needs and the effect welfare reform is having on employees who work with tenants every day.

“Employees asked for further training to make them more resilient and better equipped to help tenants through difficult times and this is one part of a wider action plan to address the issue.”

New Charter Housing Trust Group is one of 10 housing organisations in the North of England to take part in the research with Straightforward which involved one-to-one interviews and group sessions with employees.

New Charter is the first company to launch the employee training following the research and Straightforward is delivering the training sessions with housing officers.

Director of Straightforward, Charlotte Cook added: “Housing organisations need to make sure they provide the necessary support for their employees so they are equipped to meet tenants’ needs. New Charter has fully embraced this challenge and employees have really welcomed the training and the feedback has been excellent.”

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