Housing Officer recognised for the difference made in alleviating homelessness in South Somerset

A Housing Officer from South Somerset District Council has won a National Recognition Award for going "over and above" the duty in her role.

Barbie Markey, SSDC's Senior Housing Options Officer, was awarded this prestigious honour at the National Practitioner Support Service Homelessness conference for the difference she makes in alleviating homelessness in South Somerset.

District Councils have a duty to prevent homelessness. The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into force in April 2018 and has made significant changes to how District Councils can help those who are at risk of becoming homeless or are already homeless.

You are 'homeless' if:

  • You do not have anywhere to live or
  • You are at risk of violence if you try to live in your home or
  • You have a home but cannot live in it e.g. you have been evicted or forced to leave

South Somerset has bucked the trend of rising homelessness across the country and instead has seen a steady decline in the number of homeless applications from 361 in 2012/13 to 208 in 2017/18. During the same timeframe, the number of average households in temporary accommodation has fallen from 60 to 35; a remarkable achievement by Barbie and her team.

After receiving the award, Barbie said, "I was delighted to receive this award, on behalf of the housing team at SSDC. I am very proud of what we do as a team to help people facing homelessness and housing issues, it can be a challenging and difficult job and the team work very hard to assist people in need. Everyone deserves a home and I am so pleased that the difference we have made this year in housing & homelessness has been recognised on a national level."

Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council and Portfolio Holder for Strategy & Policy which includes Housing said, "Barbie has taken the issue of tackling homelessness to a new level in South Somerset.  Families are not only housed but for those with very little or nothing, they are provided with much need basic items such as bedding, crockery, furniture etc.  It has been Barbie's "thinking outside the box" initiatives, including working with other areas of the Council, that has made this possible, I couldn't be more pleased and enormously proud of this outstanding recognition.  Barbie is truly the epitome of a force for good in a very unequal world.  Not only is the award a personal achievement for her, it also reflects so well on her whole team and the area of South Somerset"

The award is a highly prestigious award amongst top housing professionals from across the country.

You can find out more about Housing Options, including homelessness within South Somerset at www.southsomerset.gov.uk/housingoptions.

Barbie Markey (1)

Above: Barbie Markey (left) being congratulated by David Grant, CEO of Housing Partners Ltd for Going the Extra Mile.