Empowering the unemployed and dealing with debt

Empowering the unemployed and dealing with debt
28th September 2018 Amanda Bhavnani
Emma Faulkner

Emma Faulkner is our Financial Inclusion Co-ordinator and part of our Tenancy Sustainment Team. Together, they help to improve the lives of our residents so they are happy and safe in their homes. Here, Emma tells us about a typical working day and how she helps residents to deal with debt and find employment:

“A typical Wednesday for me consists of Job Club in the mornings, from 10 until 2, and appointments in the afternoon.

Job Club is an opportunity for residents to come to Greenfields House and discuss any help they need or barriers they have in getting back to work. In the past few months I’ve helped to write several CVs, which is often the hardest place to start. I take it as the chance to try to boost their confidence and discuss what they can do rather than what they can’t.  I have also assisted in prepping for interviews and completing job applications. People are free to come along just to use the computers, if they wish.

People have got a lot out of it and two have ended up with jobs, where they were struggling before. I don’t tell them what to do but instead, we have open conversations about what they would like and we look at whether it is feasible and try to make it happen. At times I’ve referred to other employment programmes for more complex needs, such as health problems, but they are always happy to work with me and I have built up some good working relationships with several of them.  I’ve had a lot of lovely compliments but I just need more people through the door now!

In the afternoon, I tend to go out and visit someone. This can range from personal employment advice to advice for reducing fuel bills. Generally, I visit due to issues with budgeting or debt. Many people find juggling their money difficult, particularly if they have a low income. Borrowing from various sources is a big problem and I often find that people are in debt.  If the issue is around managing money, I discuss where they can make savings with their outgoings, but I don’t tell them how to spend their money. The point is to empower them to make their own decisions.

If there are simple benefit queries or shortfalls, I can deal with those and, in several cases, I have found that they are missing out on money they’re entitled to, which has helped them to manage their finances better. For several years Greenfields has funded a position with Citizens Advice, and I make regular referrals to them if there are debts involved. Anybody can make a referral as long as it is sent to me first so that I can log it, as I receive updates on each case.

Overall, my job is varied, interesting and rewarding. I have big plans for helping those who are struggling with their heating bills, so watch this space!”

Find out more about our Job Club and financial support available by clicking on this link: Financial Help

Find out more about our Tenancy Sustainment Team by clicking on this link: Tenancy sustainment team