Co-designing an integrated housing and support assessment

Thursday, 23 January 2020 - 11:01am

Homeless Link is a key partner in the Erasmus+ funded project ‘TOPHOUSE' (2017-2019). You can read more about TOPHOUSE on our blog from 2018 and on our project page.

Following on from a successful earlier project ‘ELOSH’ (European Learning Outcomes for Supported Housing) and designing a support planning approach to be disseminated Europe-wide in which we were partners, we have participated in a second project to design an ‘integrated housing and support assessment’.  TOPHOUSE aims to ensure that staff have the necessary tools and skills to conduct an assessment of someone’s housing and support needs together, that ensures that the person’s housing allocation and subsequent support or care package best meet their needs and reflect their wishes.

As well as being on the Project Team across the 2 year project, Homeless Link’s role was to design the training modules to support staff in delivering the TOPHOPUSE products.  We are proud in this regard to have worked closely with Experts by Experience, recruited at the outset of our work, who supported and guided us in the content and design of the training modules.

Three Experts by Experience (EbEs) supported us – Daniel, Parimal Barot and Richard Wright.  Parimal and Richard worked with us across the project, from July 2018 to the present day, culminating in the co-delivery of the training in March by Sue Baxter, Richard and Parimal and Wendy Green (hosted by Homeless Link here in London) and in a final Transnational Project Team meeting in Girona in October, which the EbEs also attended.

Our EbEs guided the work in ways we did not imagine and we can truly say the work is now multi-dimensional as a result of their ideas.  The starting point was the TOPHOUSE materials and the forms, but following feedback from our EbEs we moved to a skills-based suite of training courses.  Our EbEs stressed issues such as safeguarding and professional boundaries and how to ensure your client feels safe during the assessment process, as well as areas such as good communication and reflective listening.

Person-Centred approaches and the rights of service users are golden threads which run throughout the TOPHOUSE project, underpinning the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  The training introduces a range of interviewing and assessment approaches such as Motivational Interviewing, Strengths-based approaches, Trauma Informed Care and PIE – some of which are new concepts to our European Partners.