A stable and secure environment is essential for everyone’s’ health, wellbeing and opportunity to flourish. We all need somewhere we can call home, somewhere that is safe, doesn’t cause us distress or anxiety and is a base from which to grow and develop.
Social housing makes a significant contribution to this fundamental requirement for a large number of people and families who otherwise might not have the opportunity for reasons such as cost, availability, affordability or accessibility.
But social housing goes so much further than just making houses available; social housing is values driven, is invested in the communities they serve and want to see genuine improvements for their tenants and for a particular group of people, social housing has been absolutely critical.
Only 30 years ago, many people with mental health issues or learning disabilities were warehoused in large institutions and had little or no opportunity to experience independent living and develop the skills required to maintain a home, to be part of a community or a contributing member of society.
While, sadly, that is still the case for a number of people, social housing provided opportunities for people to move out of those intuitions and live fulfilling lives. Moreover, building on these developments, social housing has continued to provide opportunity for people who experience disadvantage to avoid institutional care in the first instance. This has afforded them the experience of living in their own home, developing skills and resilience, becoming part of a community and going on to have a quality of life that would otherwise not have been possible.
While this is immeasurably important for individuals, there are significant benefits to the Health and Social Care systems and to wider society in general; without the availability of social housing, people have to remain in hospital longer than is clinically necessary and this has an impact on their dependency, recovery, and well being.
When peoples’ discharge is delayed, this means that other people in need cannot get the treatment they require and this can lead to their situations deteriorating, resulting in, pressures on family and social care as well as longer treatment and recovery which puts further pressure on the Health system.
Social housing forms an integral part of the Health and Social Care system and contributes significantly towards the Health and Wellbeing agenda and has the opportunity to do more going forward.
Given the “not for profit” nature of social housing and the values driven nature of the sector, social housing is well positioned, and eager, to drive forward developments in accessibility and affordability; developments that will not only benefit people with specific disadvantage, but will lend themselves to designs that will mean housing in the future will remain accessible and adapt to peoples’ changing needs so they can stay in their homes longer.
Head of Operations