North Star

Community support


Our Housing Officers, whilst providing traditional housing management services, also provide services to help people sustain their tenancies and ultimately offer support that leads to happier, healthier lives.

One Housing Officer in particular, Jayne McDonald, has shown just how much she cares by going above and beyond for one of her tenants.

Jayne has looked after the same patch in Thornaby for 11 years, so has built up a close relationship with her tenants. One tenant in particular was unable to read or write, so Jayne often made extra visits to see him, providing additional support to help him with his tenancy and other aspects of his life that he struggled with. Jayne was saddened to find out that her tenant had become terminally ill, when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Jayne said: “I remember that the main thing he was concerned about was his pets, not the fact he had terminal cancer; he was deeply anxious about what would happen to his pets. He managed to re-home all but one, his precious dog Fluffy. The local shelters were full, and with Fluffy being such an old dog he couldn’t find anyone that would take her on.

Over everything, this was the main thing he was concerned about, not his health, not the fact that he wouldn’t be here anymore, but what would happen to her when he was gone. He thought he was going to have to get Fluffy put to sleep. But, being an animal lover, I just said no, that’s not going to happen. I cared too much about him and his wellbeing to let that happen.

I told the tenant to stop worrying about it and concentrate on his health and that when the time comes that he’s unable to take care of her anymore, that he should call me straight away and I will come and get her, I’ll look after her.”

But, as the tenants’ health continued to deteriorate and he was put into a hospice, Jayne received a call. So, she went and picked Fluffy up…and the pair have been together ever since.

Jayne commented: “I made visits every day after I picked Fluffy up. When I was out visiting my other tenants, I would drop Fluffy off in the morning, and pick her back up when my visits were done. It meant that she was with him right until the very end. It gave him that peace he needed, it made his last weeks a little happier, spending that time with her and then knowing she was going to be alright after he had gone.”


Fluffy now accompanies Jayne on some of her visits when she’s out in our communities, and together they help spread more happiness to those who need it most. Jayne’s commitment to the wellbeing of her tenants shows just how deeply she cares for the people living in our communities.

She added: “Being a Housing Officer is more than just a job, we do really care and we do everything we can to help the people we work with. You get intertwined into people’s lives and you discover opportunities where you can really make a difference to them. Some of the things we do to help our tenants, they might seem like really small, insignificant things to some people, but they can make the biggest difference to some of our tenants.

Being there when they need you the most, sharing the burden and helping make those small changes, will help make people’s days just a little bit brighter, that’s what makes it all so worthwhile.”