Jessica Blake, Housing Options

Jessica - Intern 2019"I am currently studying Psychology at the University of Exeter, and will going back for my final year after this internship.

I applied for this internship due to my interest in the growing homelessness problem throughout the UK. At university I had got involved with some volunteering which gave me the opportunity to offer outreach to rough sleepers in Exeter, and after this I wanted further experience in how I could help this cause professionally.

During my time here I have been able to gauge the many roles that are within the Housing Options and Homelessness team, and the importance that they all have for helping those who are homeless, or those who are at risk of homelessness. As part of the internship I have shadowed many members of the team. This included going out with the Welfare Benefit Officer and following them on their home visits as they offered advice and support to those the Housing team had previously helped gain tenancies. This was an eye opening experience and educated me on things the council does which I didn’t previously know about. As well as this we were also able to shadow the Income Recovery Officer and the Advice and Prevention Officer. All the shadowing was great experience and allowed me to understand to a further extent what was involved in working with the Housing Options and Homelessness team.

Our departmental work involved a research project which was aiming to find alternative accommodation for those who may be threatened with homelessness. As part of this we researched and evaluated the organisation Shared Lives, in which carers are paired up with and offer up their homes to an individual who may need additional needs. We were also involved with collating a spreadsheet which showcased various organisations which may help individuals sustain their private tenancies.

As well as our department work we were given a group intern project which involved all the interns from the other departments. The aim of the project was to showcase the skills available to residents throughout West Suffolk. This was my favourite part of the internship as it involved organising our own events, which was a great experience especially when it came to networking with different organisations. By the end of the internship we had hosted two big events and lots of smaller ones.

Overall the internship has been an enjoyable experience where I have met some great people and gained invaluable experience that I will be able to take forward into future jobs."