It is often said that a country can be judged by how it protects its most vulnerable citizens and nothing is more vital to someone who is vulnerable than having the right home. The supported housing that our sector provides helps millions of people across England live independently and enjoy better lives, while reducing the pressure on acute public services such as the NHS and police.
Throughout my many years working in housing, I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact of having the right home and support on our resident’s lives and the effect can often be life-changing. These schemes have been proven to create better outcomes for residents and some save the NHS over £20,000 for every year for each person in supported housing rather than on a ward. But we could do so much more with funding certainty. You can read just a few of these stories on the campaign's website Starts at Home.
The government has been in consultation with the sector to reshape the funding model – the core costs coming from Universal Credit and the new proposal is that local councils will top up funding if it is required. The concern is that with already stretched local authority budgets, the essential funding might not be there.
I am proud that One Housing has continued to build urgently needed supported housing when the funding situation has been uncertain. Our plan to build over 1,000 places for older people to live is on track and we are opening new mental health schemes.
Because this housing is so important, I fully support Peter Aldous MP who has secured a debate on the future funding of supported housing this afternoon in Parliament. There is already tremendous support from MPs and councillors up and down the country who recognise that this devolved funding model might not be the best way to ensure these services continue in the long term.
It's clear after this conference season the government is listening to the social housing sector and it could not have come at a more crucial time. We need to get housing policy right and it's absolutely essential we get it right for supported housing too. And as a compassionate society, we need to be the champion for services that our most vulnerable rely on.
I encourage everyone to support Peter as he holds this vital debate in Westminster and tweet your support using the hashtag #startsathome.
Group Chief Executive