Housing & Welfare Casework Volunteer
As a very busy team, our casework volunteers are invaluable, supporting the staff team on anything from liaising with statutory bodies and voluntary agencies, to drafting grant applications for individual welfare needs. To be able to meet the enormous demand for welfare and housing support, we ideally need to have volunteer support throughout the week.
The Housing and Welfare team is a fast-paced team which works to make sure that all of our clients have safe and comfortable accommodation and are able to access any benefits to which they are entitled. People seeking asylum are restricted in the benefits they can access, if any, and their legal status determines whether or not they can engage in employment and what statutory accommodation is available for them, so the Housing and Welfare team is vital in helping HBF’s clients to navigate this system. People recently granted refugee status and those who have experienced exploitation are also at high risk of destitution, homelessness and unsuitable accommodation.
Main tasks and activities:
- Assisting clients to access asylum support, community care, housing, mainstream benefits, charitable support (etc.), within the remit of prevention of homelessness and destitution;
- Maintaining contact with clients within the remit of prevention of homelessness and destitution;
- Liaising with statutory bodies (Asylum Support, DWP, local authorities), solicitors and voluntary agencies to ensure client needs are met;
- Referring clients internally and externally as appropriate for specialist help with issues that fall outside the remit of the housing and welfare casework service, including health/therapeutic services, referrals to immigration/housing/community care solicitors;
- Maintaining accurate and timely client records and follow-up work;
- Other administrative duties as required, including database management and filing.
Skills and experience needed
- Understanding of, and commitment to, the objectives of the Helen Bamber Foundation;
- A demonstrable empathy for our vulnerable clients, including people seeking asylum, refugees and survivors of torture and trafficking;
- Some knowledge of the challenges facing vulnerable clients including people seeking asylum, refugees and survivors of torture, trafficking;
- Some experience in a casework and/or advice role;
- Some knowledge of the rights and entitlements of people seeking asylum and refugees;
- Some knowledge of mainstream benefits, housing, social care;
- Ability to keep up to date with legislation, case law, policies and procedures relating to welfare, housing and immigration;
- Punctual, reliable and self-motivated;
- Able to commit regularly (ideally same day each week)
- Awareness of confidentiality/data protection;
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills;
- Excellent organisational skills and ability to manage own time and workload, and to prioritise a range of competing demands;
- Excellent IT skills including the use of databases, email, word processing;
- Flexibility and willingness to undertake other duties as required
What you will get out of the role:
- A better understanding of UK processes and systems which concern people seeking asylum and refugees (including asylum support, homelessness, welfare benefits, local authority support etc.) and what support is available;
- Increased confidence in working on a one-to-one basis with clients;
- Stronger administrative skills;
- Ability to process large amounts of data and prioritise or categorise it;
- An ability to multi-task between competing priorities;
- Experience of working with a multi-disciplinary team in a Human Rights charity.
Please Submit CV and Cover letter explaining why would you like to be considered for this volunteering role and your motivations for applying.
We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis until we have filled all available volunteer positions.
Due to capacity constraints, we will only be able to respond to applications being taken forward to interview.
Please note that successful candidates will be offered the volunteer position subject to a DBS check.
The Helen Bamber Foundation and Asylum Aid is an equal opportunities and Living Wage employer. We are committed to attracting and recruiting diverse candidates as we are keen to make sure that our staff, trustees, volunteers and ambassadors reflect the communities we serve and the wider community we work in at every level within the organisation. We particularly welcome applications from Minority Ethnicities.
Download full job description here.