Lockdown Lives 1: Lana Hunte, SW9 Supported Housing Scheme Manager

SW9 is a community. It is at times such as these that we need to do our best for ourselves, our families and each other. There are many stories to tell of how we are responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on our lives.

In an ongoing series of interviews, we are going to be asking a number of staff and residents about how their lives have changed since lockdown; what they have been doing, how they have been doing it and how they are getting on.


Lockdown Lives 1: Lana Hunte, SW9 Supported Housing Scheme Manager

Lana Hunte is the SW9 Supported Housing Scheme Manager. She is in charge of Wynter House and Helmi House. We asked Lana a little bit about what she has been doing since lockdown.

Under normal circumstances, what is your day job like?

On a day to day basis I look after the residents and the buildings they live in. I could be making a phone call one day for a resident or going on a hospital visit the next – the role is really varied and keeps me on my toes.

An important part of my job is looking after their wellbeing and doing whatever I need to make sure this is maintained. No two days are ever the same and I am available 24/7. All the tenants have my phone number and are free to call me at any time as their welfare is important to me.

Could you tell me how this has changed during lockdown?

I have gone from being scheme manager to a mobile shopper, security guard, food dropper, doctor’s personal assistant and – at times – dictator! All these roles, along with the day job, helps me and SW9 ensure the wellbeing of my supported housing tenants and our vulnerable residents on the wider estate.

What has been the most challenging thing for you during this time?

Trying to fit it all in! Going out shopping or to a chemist takes up a lot of time due to the important social distancing restrictions in place.

When life was normal, there were a number of vulnerable residents that I would see every day. This is now not possible, but I try and make sure I call them every day. It’s been very hard locking down Helmi House as some of the tenants just cannot grasp the seriousness of the situation – they feel it’s a bit of an overreaction. I try to explain and break it down to them, but they cannot comprehend what I am saying, even though it’s on the news every day. Due to various disabilities, not all of our elderly residents can remember, so I must keep reminding them why we are doing what we are doing.

I do sympathise with them as it's very hard for them to adjust, they were as free as birds to do what they wanted but now they can feel like prisoners. It’s important that the support team and I help to make life as normal for them as possible through this time to keep them, and the wider community, safe.

What has been the most challenging thing for you personally since lockdown?

I think the most challenging for me is saying no and meaning no. I have really had to stamp down my authority with some of the residents and outside organisation on several occasions. Saying no goes against my work ethos, which is to always try to find a way to help and never giving just a blanket no. For example, there was only one way to lock down Helmi House and that was to lock the door and keep it locked, regardless of who you are.

On a personal level I am really missing my friends and family, especially the grandkids. We do Face Time but it’s not the same. I miss “Gran ma ,Gran ma come, come, I want to show you something!” It’s usually the sweet jar they’re beckoning me to! Not being able to just get up and go is becoming increasingly frustrating. I know it’s for the greater good, but I want my freedom back.

Is there anything else you would like residents to know?

I know that these are challenging times and I know that it very difficult for people, but the changes and restrictions will not last for ever. The human cost of this virus has been horrendous. We at SW9 do not want any of our residents becoming part of that statistic simply because they had no one to help them so had to go out.

SW9 will do whatever it takes to try and help keep them safe, this is not lip service. We mean it. If there is anything you need or want, give us a call and we will do our upmost to get it to you. The most important thing for our elderly and vulnerable residents is to follow the Government guidelines to stay home, save lives and protect the NHS.

We have a team of staff dedicated to helping you from charging your utility key, picking up medication and shopping. We can even just give you a call if you want to talk to someone.

You can contact the team on:

  • Lana on 07950 270 776
  • Novelette on 07958 408 471
  • Elsa on 07825 113 945
  • Davison on 07949 686 629