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Gemma wanted a change of career

I started working in housing as I wanted a change of career.

Prior to starting my role as Income Officer at Monmouthshire Housing Association (MHA), I was working in resettlement in HMP Cardiff. I had always worked with offenders in one way, shape or form and I felt that I needed a change. I started supporting prisoners upon release from prison, then became a Police Officer on a response team in London before working in resettlement within the prison. In these roles, I realised housing was always a priority for people. I found that if prisoners had no stable accommodation upon release, they would intentionally commit crimes to return to prison. This is what made prompted me to consider a career in housing and helping support people to stay in their homes.

I saw the job of Income Officer advertised at MHA and thought I would give it a try. I liked the fact that the role would be a mixture of support and processes. I had never worked specifically in housing before and was looking forward to my new career but also felt a bit worried about such a change of direction. Since joining my new team at MHA, not only have I made life-long friends, but the team is one of the most supportive I have ever worked with; everyone takes time to help each other which is what I like most.

The main MHA ethos is to keep people in their homes and support them as much as necessary. When tenants initially have an Income Officer contacting them or knocking at their door, they are anxious and don’t want to engage because the job title can cause people to put their barriers up. I really like changing their view and get job satisfaction from meeting tenants and helping them reduce their arrears and remain in their homes.

Gemma is an Income Officer at Monmouthshire Housing Association