News from Alertacall plus articles and insights on how to enhance outcomes for people with higher needs in the housing, health and social care sectors.
Alertacall has secured a multi-year contract extension for its Housing Proactive service with Hull based women’s supported housing model, Winner. As part of the service expansion, environmental sensors and portable touchscreens were deployed in March 2021 at hundreds of properties across the city.
Housing Proactive is a specialist housing management system designed to increase contact with tenants for more effective tenancy sustainment and property management. The service was first installed at Winner in 2016 and over the past five years has offered tenants greater flexibility in how they engage with their housing service, improved repairs performance and reduced the turnaround time of void properties.
Winner, the Preston Road Women’s Centre, provides information, support and advice to women in Hull. It is a multi-purpose organisation run by women for women offering a wide range of services, including ensuring safe and affordable housing. The dispersed and varied nature of the accommodation provided makes it difficult to effectively maintain contact with tenants and manage the quality of the homes provided, in a way that is non-intrusive and time intensive.
As part of the Housing Proactive service, tenants are given equipment with which they routinely engage with to collect news, updates and other important information in relation to their property or tenancy. If tenants choose not to engage with their device, a highly trained member of the Alertacall team will call them. Specific training and safeguarding protocols were developed working alongside the team at Winner to address the specific needs of women fleeing domestic violence.
With the contract extension, Winner has upgraded to Alertacall’s portable touchscreen device, which comes fitted with a custom made stand and an any network 4G SIM card. As the touchscreens do not require WiFi or any hardwiring to work, there were no associated costs or service disruption when the new devices were deployed in March.
In addition to the daily contact offered, the touchscreens have a repairs reporting app, can be used as an intercom and can deliver text or image messages – helping to improve two way communication between the tenants and the housing team.
As a high proportion of the tenant group don’t have access to landline phones and many also don’t own a smartphone, the touchscreens make it easier for the team at Winner to make contact with their service users. The service also helps encourage tenants to report repairs and maintenance issues earlier, either through the repairs button or through speaking with the Alertacall team.
Data from tenant interaction with the service is documented and provides valuable MI reporting which staff access online. Given the temporary nature of the accommodation, where tenants have chosen to leave their property at short notice, Housing Proactive provides occupancy tracking to quickly identify if a property has been vacated.
All the properties have now also been fitted with the Envosense environmental sensor. Data collected hourly from these IoT sensors show changes in humidity and temperature, which help detect potential maintenance issues, such as damp, poor ventilation and heating failures. The sensors have a battery life of five years and also transfer data through an any network SIM to a cloud based reporting platform. As no manual checks are required in the collection of this data, this also protects tenant privacy and reduces workload for staff.
Feedback from tenants has been extremely positive so far. Winner has reported that the service is also enabling them to reduce the risk levels of tenants more quickly by promoting greater independence.
Benjamin Lambert, Head of Client Relations, commented:
“It has been fantastic to work with the team at Winner over the past five years and help to ensure that women who have experienced violence and abuse at home have access to safe and quality accommodation in Hull. The deployment of the touchscreen and environmental sensors into properties will provide a more effective two way conversation with tenants going forward and help detect maintenance issues. Importantly, in a way which is non-intrusive and tailored to the individual’s needs. Many of our systems have been developed working alongside Winner’s forward thinking team and we look to continue our partnership for years to come.”
Alison Ashton, Domestic Abuse and Housing Service Manager at Winner, commented:
“Housing Proactive now forms a key part of how we operate our housing service. Critically, the service enables us to communicate with tenants who otherwise we may struggle to contact. The new touchscreen and environmental sensor are very exciting additions to the service, further helping us to report on a range of housing related issues and improve the quality of the accommodation provided. The deployment of the devices in March went very smoothly and there is no need for our team to make ongoing manual checks or deal with any maintenance issues, which is fantastic.
The fact that we can monitor the occupancy status of our properties ensures we are able to quickly identify any vacant properties so we are able to help more of the women on our waiting list.
We categorise the tenants level of risk with a traffic light system. Since Housing Proactive was introduced, we have also seen a correlation in the increase of the number individuals able to progress to lower risk levels more quickly and gain greater independence.”
For more information on Housing Proactive, please call 0808 163 0993 or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org.