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Local ‘angel’ who helps prevent homelessness scoops Spirit of Salford award

Jo Salim, a housing officer for ForHousing's Tenancy Sustainment Service (TSS), has won the Public Servant of the Year Award at the Spirit of Salford Community Awards.

The award, organised by Salford City Council, celebrates local people who make a difference in their community.

Jo was nominated secretly by a tenant who praised her for her dedication and hard work in helping others, describing her as an “angel of life.”

She is part of ForHousing’s Tenancy Sustainment Service (TSS), which works with tenants in need of extra support to look after their homes and keep their tenancy on track.

Jo has been in her current role for about five years, having been a housing officer for a decade before that.

Her team works with tenants in need of extra support to maintain their tenancy, developing a personalised support plan that ranges from budgeting advice to coaching on life skills, well-being help, and access to food banks.

Over the last 12 months, the team has supported 96 tenants to sustain their tenancies and has maximised tenants’ short- and long-term income by £637,000.

Local landlord ForHousing owns and manages 24,000 homes across the North West.

Jo’s dedication to helping people comes naturally to her, having been brought up to believe that one should “give and forget, receive and remember.”

She has always been involved in charity work and volunteering in her community, as well as for university when she studied youth work.

She believes that everyone, from every background, deserves help, and it’s something she’s passionate about.

The people Jo and her team work with are going through a really difficult time, perhaps with mental health issues or burying their heads in the sand about the challenges they are facing.

She helps others whose lives have taken a hit or just progressively gone downhill, and it’s a special feeling for her to be recognised for making a positive difference in their lives.

Being described as an “angel of life” by the tenant who nominated her was really surreal for Jo.

The tenant was already only just getting by and was then furloughed during the pandemic, losing family members to the virus too.

Jo helped her get more support, just as she helps others, but said it was a special feeling to be recognised.

Martyn Hague, Executive Director of Customer at ForHousing, said they are all really proud of Jo and the whole team within the Tenancy Sustainment Service.

They continually go above and beyond to support tenants to prevent homelessness and transform people’s lives. He understands things are really tough for a lot of their tenants right now, but they have a wide range of support available and would urge anyone who is struggling with their finances to get in touch with them.

Jo feels privileged that people trust her with details of their personal life and that she can make a positive difference in their lives thanks to the support ForHousing provides.

Seeing these tenants thrive again is incredible, and being recognised by the council makes her stop and think about the difference they are making in other people’s lives.

Jo is proud to put TSS on the map and hopes that this recognition will inspire others to help those in need.

She believes that anyone can make a positive difference in their community, no matter how small, and encourages everyone to give and forget, receive and remember.

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