Day in the life of a Navigator
We have a duty of care to support residents in Colchester who are homeless or rough sleeping. Our Outreach Team work hard to support those who need assistance to find accommodation. Since October 2019, our Navigators have worked alongside the Outreach Team to ensure those who are homeless or in unsuitable accommodation have access to local support and services. We caught up with Gia to understand what a day in the life of a Navigator is like.
How would you describe your role?
As a Navigator for CBH, it’s our responsibility to provide ongoing support to residents who are homeless or in unsuitable accommodation. As one of two Navigators, I’ll have up to 12 cases and work with them to find the best support available. Some of these cases may have experienced severe trauma, domestic abuse or live with mental health issues. Luckily, Colchester has some incredible organisations which can help with these.
It’s important that once in a home, people who were homeless have access to ongoing support. This is why there’s no time limit on how long we’ll support someone, although I’d say on average, we spend around nine months with each person.
How do you make sure the right support is offered?
By working closely with our partners, we aim to put in place ongoing support should it ever be required. Many local services provide out-of-hours support which in some cases is essential. We also reassure those we’ve supported that we’re available even after they’ve found a home and no longer require welfare checks.
It’s important we work closely with landlords too, so they understand the complexity of tenants which have been homed and know who to contact for support, should it be required. We also have access to a mental health nurse who works closely with those we’re assisting.
We don’t just offer support for those experiencing mental health issues and abuse, we also advise on the best financial support available and help people avoid rent arrears. As you can tell, there’s a lot of ways to ensure we link people to the best services.
What’s one thing you’d like residents to be more aware of when discussing homelessness in Colchester?
It’s important that people are aware that nobody wants to be homeless. It’s sometimes through a personal trauma, such as abuse which can then lead to people relying on alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism, that people end up homeless or rough sleeping. That’s why our role as Navigators is important as we understand this and know what support is available to help find suitable accommodation.
What’s the best part of being a Navigator?
It’s a challenging role at times, but equally interesting and can be very rewarding, especially when someone who has been homeless now has more stability and is able to rebuild relationships with those close to them. It’s these cases that demonstrate how the hard work of the Outreach Team and the Navigators are a huge benefit to Colchester and the wider community