Assessment Procedure Policy
This procedure should be read in conjunction with the Associations Allocations, Eligibility and Support Planning Policy.
jLiving as a provider of sheltered accommodation and housing related support for predominantly but not exclusively older Jewish persons invites and considers applications from many different agencies and individuals, including direct applications from potential tenants, LA nominations and inter agency referrals.
As an organisation and provider of housing related support services Jewish Community Housing Association Ltd recognises the importance of offering a fair, transparent and accountable Allocations and Assessment procedure and in turn the most appropriate use of its resources.
The Association also recognises its contractual obligations in relation to the Supporting People contracts that it holds with 8 different local authorities across London and the South East, in particular the requirement to offer housing to those individuals who are assessed as being in need of housing related support services in order to maintain a programme of independent living.
All applicants are visited within their current property prior to being accepted for the Association waiting list. Visits are carried out by senior members of the Management Team, i.e. Chief Executive, Housing Manager or Lettings Manager or alternatively one of the Associations Welfare Officers.
The assessment process provides the opportunity to establish both the wishes and the needs of the applicant and to establish that the individual has a need for support services as opposed to merely a need for housing. The assessment will consider the following:
- The applicants current housing status – homeless / owner occupier / tenant.
- If homeless or facing eviction – reasons why.
- If tenant – length of tenancy, landlord, rent history, current rent paid. Does the applicant have a history of tenancy failure
- If owner occupier – approximate value of property and is property being sold. The Association remains mindful of its status as a provider of social housing for those in the greatest need, it also has limited resources and is therefore unable to assist applicants who may own a property that could release sufficient capital to enable the purchase of a non RSL or leasehold sheltered property.
- Reasons for wanting to move.
- Next of Kin details, does the applicant wish to move closer to their NOK?
- GP details – is the applicant in regular contact with their GP, details also required in order to request completion of the medical questionnaire.
- Social networks and activities – does the applicant see friends and family regularly? Is their help close at hand in an emergency? Does the applicant attend any day centres or lunch clubs, if not are they aware that this facility is available to them? If the applicant is Jewish are they able to attend their Synagogue with ease? Can they access Jewish facilities and kosher shops if this is important to them? Is the applicant able to go out independently or with assistance?
- Care needs – does the applicant receive a care package in current accommodation? If so what does the package consist of? If not receiving care is applicant managing personal care? Does applicant appear well cared for or self neglecting? How does applicant manage shopping and cleaning? Does the interior of the property appear dirty or neglected? How does applicant manage medication if they have to take it? Do they require assistance or prompting? Has applicant had any adaptations installed in their current property, would they require the same in any property that may be offered to them? Does applicant use a wheelchair or mobility aids, would they require a mobility / wheelchair standard unit? Do they manage their bath or would they require a shower either over the bath or level access?
- Financial Situation – Is the applicant in receipt of all correct benefits? Will they be entitled to HB? Does the applicant have savings or capital that may enable them to access alternative non RSL housing? Do they manage their finances independently or does somebody have Power of Attorney for them? How will they pay their rent?
- Medical Condition and Needs – Does the applicant suffer with any long term disability or illness? Does the applicant appear to be confused or to have short term memory loss? Does the applicant require or need intensive nursing care or are they already receiving intensive nursing at home? Is the applicant currently in hospital? How does the applicant view their medical situation? What, if any, limitations does it impose on current day to day living? Does the applicant have a sensory impairment? Will they require adaptations in order to cope with this? Is the applicant mobile either with or without walking aids? Does any medical condition inhibit using stairs? Does the applicant have any medical condition which places them at risk and therefore indicating the need for a Scheme Manager to make a daily call e.g. history of CVA, unstable diabetes, history of falling, epilepsy etc? The Association will not reasonably withhold an offer of accommodation based on pre existing medical conditions but rather uses this information as part of the informed process of Support Planning and Risk Assessment. By the inclusion of medical information within the assessment process the Association can also ensure that any necessary adaptations or special requirements may be put in place as soon as possible should the applicant be offered a vacant property.
- Initial application is completed and returned to Head Office.
- Acknowledgment letter is dispatched and applicant is informed that they will be visited at home by either the Lettings Manager or another member of Head Office Staff within 6 weeks.
- Staff member to carry out the assessment makes contact with the applicant either by telephone or by letter to visit at home.
- All applicants have the opportunity to have a carer/friend/relative present at the assessment should they wish. Likewise the staff member carrying out the assessment will invite other professionals involved in the care and support of the applicant if the applicant so wishes e.g. Care Manager or referring agency.
- At the home visit, the Assessment form is completed and the applicant is requested to ask their GP to complete a medical questionnaire and return it to Head Office under separate cover. Applicants are requested to sign a consent form to enable their GP to do this.
- If home assessment indicates a specified support need, e.g. the applicant is isolated or at risk in their current environment, is vulnerable by virtue of a physical disability or physical frailty, can no longer manage in their current property due to illness or disability or any other identified support need, the HV assessment will be considered by the Association’s Allocation Panel for inclusion on the Association waiting list.
- The Allocations Panel will consist of the following: Chief Executive, Housing Manager, Lettings Manager, 2 practising GPs’ who are also members of the Tenancy Sub Committee and 1 member of the main Management Committee who also sits on the Tenancy Sub Committee.
- If the panel are in agreement that the applicant has an identified need for housing related support that could be managed within a sheltered scheme the applicant will be informed by letter advising that they have been included on the waiting list.
- If the applicant following the home assessment is found to be unsuitable by the Panel the applicant will be informed by letter and advised of alternative options that may prove more suitable, they are also advised of the appeals procedure should they not agree with the outcome of the home visit and subsequent assessment.
- If the applicant has been referred by another agency, the referring agency will be notified of the outcome of the assessment if not present at the home visit.
- Following the Panel meeting the details of the HV assessment will be entered on to the Associations Housing Management IT system. The system will award points based on circumstances e.g. Does the applicant share facilities with non family members, does the current accommodation have a lift or stairs and can the applicant use stairs, does the applicant receive a care package, tenancy history, does the tenant have a history of arrears or tenancy breakdown etc.
- The award of points allows an objective priority system to be generated for applicants.
- The IT system will inform Lettings staff of the most appropriate applicant for any available property as it becomes void by cross matching the applicant with the highest points who has requested to move to the scheme or area now void.
- It is sometimes the case that the Association will receive a Nomination from one of the LA’s with which it holds a Nominations Agreement. The Association recognises the need for swift decisions regarding acceptance, suitability and allocation of property in these cases and recognises that a LA Nomination candidate cannot be expected to wait for approval by the Panel which may not occur for a month following the Assessment. In cases such as these the Chief Executive in conjunction with the Housing Manager will consider the Nomination pending receipt of all assessment information and authorise the allocation of the property should the Nominee have an identified need for Housing Related Support.
- In the case of nominations or potential tenants for the Extra Care Scheme at Young Court. Where the applicant is a direct applicant to the Association, the above procedure will apply followed by the necessary referral to Brent Older Peoples Services for assessment for Extra Care Services. Where the applicant is being nominated by the Brent Extra Care Panel, the Panel meeting will be attended by the HM or CE. Pending acceptance by the Extra Care Panel as being suitable for Extra Care provision, JCHA will then arrange to visit the nominee and complete the JCHA Housing and Support Needs Assessment.This Policy and Procedure is subject to regular review.