Going over and above, every day.

Going over and above, every day. - 05/06/2020

Nomad is a charity which exists to improve access to decent, affordable housing, help people transition out of homelessness quickly and positively, and support people to develop the skills and resilience to help them avoid homelessness in the future. Nomad provides access to shared housing in Sheffield, along with coaching to help people achieve their goals and ambitions. Whether clients  want to get into education, employment, training or volunteering Nomad helps them reach their full potential.

Karen Awdhali, Head of Services at Nomad, contacted Help us Help to tell us about two of her staff from the Smartsteps team who have gone over and above in their dedication to clients, and been “absolutely amazing” since the coronavirus pandemic caused services across the city to close.


The week before lockdown happened, Nomad decided that staff should work from home if they would prefer to, to protect both staff and clients from unnecessary contact with each other. Many of the clients being supported by Nomad were potentially in a high risk group, due to underlying health conditions, insecure housing and intermittent engagement with services.


Nomad’s Housing Officer, Mary Sanderson, decided that she wasn't working from home until she had to and would instead fill any rooms that were currently empty.  She felt that the most useful thing she could do to help people during the pandemic was to house as many people as could be accommodated, taking them away from risky contact situations, and doing everything possible to help them access the support they needed. None of the team at Nomad were surprised by Mary’s position, as she has demonstrated this unswerving commitment time and again over the ten years she has been working in housing.


On the 23rd of March, Nomad made the decision that all staff must now work from home. This did not sit comfortably with many of the team, simply because the organisation exists to find accommodation for people that are homeless and many didn't see how this could be done working from home. Nobody goes into working in housing with anything but a dedication to help house people, and this certainly rings clear for the team at Nomad. Staying true to this passion, whilst at the same time keeping themselves and clients safe was a tricky balance to achieve.


By week two of the enforced working from home, Mary and a second Housing Officer, Laura Fieber started making common sense decisions in that if one of Nomad’s tenants needed help, they were going to help them. Put simply, if there was a room available, then Mary and Laura would do their very best to fill it!


Karen commented, “all of our staff have done an excellent job of keeping in touch with our tenants and making sure that they are doing OK but for Mary and Laura this wasn't enough. As a manager, I am always proud of Nomad and the work we do but Mary and Laura have taken my pride to a whole new level. Nothing has been too much trouble for them and their thinking has been that if we have an empty room, someone is homeless that doesn't need to be and they weren't going to sit at home and accept that.”


There is so much unseen work going on in the city during the coronavirus pandemic to support homeless people, so it’s great to be able to shine a light on some of our local heroes, to show the city that whilst its definitely not business as usual out there, there are always people willing to step forwards to do what’s needed to support our most vulnerable residents.


Well done Mary, Laura and the whole team at Nomad!


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