Six Town Housing took steps to engage with deaf and hard of hearing customers in a way that enables them to access our services 24/7 as well as have an ‘out of hours’ advocate to contact or other emergency services if they are not able to speak.
During lockdown welfare calls, STH quickly realised it was difficult to contact our deaf and hard of hearing customers. Deaf customers would normally call into our reception or ask to see their Neighbourhood Advisor face to face. However, both these options are temporarily unavailable, so it was important to engage with deaf and hard of hearing customers to maintain dialogue so that they were not prevented from accessing services.
95 deaf and hard of hearing customers. We took advice from a profoundly deaf STH employee and tenant to try to understand access problems during lockdown and thereafter. We consulted customers via text, email and family members using survey monkey.
15 people have received tailored communication to meet their needs. A closed Facebook group is being set up. Eight deaf customers living alone have opted into emergency ‘out of hours’ text or email. We have four volunteer advocates acting on behalf of customers to resolve problems and report and fix ‘out of hours’ emergency repairs. All volunteers are learning British Sign Language.
We only have one volunteer deaf signer but four people have signed up to learn British Sign Language and act as advocates for deaf customers who many not be able to communicate any other way.
Meet Wayne, one of our Caretakers. Wayne is deaf and joined STH through our tenant employment and training scheme called Steps to Success. Read Wayne’s story.
He is the champion behind this idea.