From the frontline – what it’s like to work for Stonewater’s Safe Space for LGBT+ people

Manon Thomas talks to Inside Housing about what it's like to be a Specialist Coach at our LGBT+ Safe Space

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Tell us about your job.

Safe Space provides accommodation and support for LGBT+ people who have experienced domestic abuse, discrimination, a hate crime or a family breakdown.

The support we offer depends on what residents need and what their end goals are. We also have a good network with local businesses and organisations to signpost our residents to, such as Women’s Aid and Swindon College.

How did you get started working in housing?

I was in a difficult situation and needed a job, which is when I found a role with Stonewater in the customer contact team. This was monumental in my recovery. The next step was finding a way to work on my two passions: supporting people who have experienced domestic abuse and working with the LGBT+ community. When I realised I could do both at Safe Space, I applied straight away.

What’s the most important item on your to-do list?

Ensuring everyone staying with us feels comfortable, happy and supported every day. Whatever I can do to make sure that’s the case, I will always go the extra mile to do.

What’s the best part of your job?

Seeing our residents achieve that ‘moment of lift’. I can be working with someone for weeks or months but when they begin realising they can achieve their goals and find happiness, that is incredibly rewarding.

And the worst?

There have been many instances when individuals have refused support to tackle their mental health struggles or engage with the services we have provided. The hardest part is watching them continue going through the same struggle or pain as a result.

If you could be prime minister for the day, what would you do?

I would make changes to tackle the housing crisis. I live in Gloucester and a road near me is littered with large, empty houses – all of which could be put to better use by specialist provisions and get rough sleepers off the streets.

What would you change about the housing sector, if you could?

We should have support workers who people can sit with and tell their stories to, so they can be offered the right support.

You can also read the full article on the Inside Housing website.