A company is only as good as the people it employs, with that in mind we are going behind the scenes to shine a light on some of the important work that goes on at Stef and Philips every single day. The unsung stars whose work enables us to continually deliver our high level of service.
We start by spending a day following some of our true front-line heroes. The friendly face of Stef & Philips and a crucial point of contact for the majority of our service users, the Housing Officers. They check in with our service user’s general well-being every week, handling logistical practicalities like checking in new residents and recording registers. This ensures that the accommodation that we provide is meeting their needs and to solve any issues as they arise. It is part of the unique end-to-end service that Stef and Philips offer.
Today I will be shadowing Paul, a veteran of almost ten years as a Housing Officer. He tells me that no two days are ever the same and you never know what to expect. In his time, he has pretty much seen it all, so I know I am in good hands. Once we hit the road we head west, our journey will take us past the curving arch of Wembley Stadium, the expansive Heathrow airport and the thriving melee of downtown rush hour Southall.
We start not far from headquarters where we conduct the weekly registers at one of our properties. Service users are required to record their daily attendance and the information is passed on to our clients. Paul knocks on every door and has built up a good rapport with the service users we meet. The majority are happy for us to do a quick visual inspection of their space and pass on any issues that they may be having.
The service users that Paul looks after are currently in Emergency Accommodation. In Paul’s experience, this can last anywhere from a single night onwards. They are referred via local councils often working in partnership with housing associations and charities. Service users typically run the full gamut of human experiences and in many cases suffer from poor mental health. Not far from Heathrow, we are scheduled to do a check-in with a new resident. We initially rendezvous with Mary, a member of the Crisis charity who is helping with the move. Mary informs us the resident finds the moving process particularly traumatic, so it is agreed that she will handle the initial check-in with the resident to be briefed by Paul the following day.
Our last visit is in Southall with a gentleman called Mark. Mark is polite and friendly but clearly anxious to get settled into his new accommodation. This anxiety has a tendency to spill over verbally, and he forgets we are still in a pandemic and encroaches on our personal space. Paul handles this with the grace, patience and lightness of touch necessary, honed over many years of experience. We get through the paperwork and Mark is left clutching a precious set of keys to his own room/property. His joy is palpable as we leave him to get on with his life.
As we drive away, I compliment Paul on how he handled Mark’s over-exuberance and Paul responds matter-of-factly that; if he lost everything and was destitute – which could happen to anyone – he would want to be treated with dignity and respect. So that’s what he shows all of our service users. I don’t think I could do Pauls job, but I’m glad that there are people like him out there, going about their job, day in day out.