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Housing / Thumbs up from Care Inspectorate for housing association

Hjaltland Housing Association's Grodians development in Lerwick. Photo: Hjaltland Housing Association

HJALTLAND Housing Association has received a positive endorsement from the Care Inspectorate following an unannounced inspection in October.

The visit related to the organisation’s housing support services.

The association provides enabling support to tenants in sheltered accommodation and those embarking on their first tenancies, using a person-centred approach to meet the specific needs of each tenant.

The inspection focused on how well Hjaltland supports people’s wellbeing, and the leadership of the association.

The areas scrutinised received an overall rating of five, or ‘very good’.

Hjaltland said any areas of improvement noted were ones with “minimal adverse impact” on people’s experiences and outcomes.

The final report concluded: “We observed staff engaging with people. It was clear from these interactions that staff were mindful of key values, always treated people with dignity, respect, empathy and appropriate compassion.

“This meant that people were valued and accepted. There was a positive culture and ethos of continuous improvement and development.

“This was led by the management team at the housing association. We met a respectful and supportive team who shared the aims and values of the service.”

The association’s head of housing and customer services Ian Bray said: “The core function of our Housing Support Service is to promote the independence of our tenants, through the provision of low-level support to help them achieve their personal goals.

“Whilst this report is welcomed and does provide us with independent assurance that we are delivering a high-quality service, we will continue to use feedback from tenants as our main barometer and will continue to consider ways in which we can further improve the services we offer.”

Meanwhile the association has been successful in two funding applications aimed at supporting tenants who are struggling with either the cost of living or the cost of energy.

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The Scottish Government has again funded the Community Led Local Development project, which is administered locally by Shetland Islands Council, and will result in £30,000 being distributed to Hjaltland tenants in need.

A further bid of £45,000 to the Scottish Federation of Housing Association’s Fuel Insecurity Fund has also been accepted, in acknowledgement that as a remote and rural authority, inhabitants of Shetland are at significant risk of fuel poverty.

The association’s chief executive Bryan Leask said: “This is the third winter in which we have distributed some form of financial support to our tenants, and whilst it is regrettable that such support is required, we are grateful to be able to offer an intervention in this way.

“Struggling to make ends meet is a reality for many within our community and we need to remove the perceived stigma of asking for support.

“As a social landlord, we are here to help, that’s the day job and we would urge any tenant of the Association who is worried about their finances or struggling with their bills to reach out to us.”

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