It is time for specialist and developing associations to join forces and provide the NHS with much-needed accommodation-based support, writes Chris Hampson
Many housing associations’ roots are in care and support, but times have changed and the pressure to deliver more general needs housing means that many associations have disposed of this risky, non-core marginal side of their business.
Look Ahead was set up as a specialist provider, and supported housing is our business.
This means we don’t have the same pressure to deliver homes, but we also don’t have the financial capacity to develop a large number of properties each year.
As an organisation we are concerned that, as many associations exit the delivery side of support, there has been a dramatic decrease in suitable buildings being developed to provide supported living services for people with mental health needs and learning disabilities, as well as care leavers.
We’ve already seen a number of large buildings, including hostels, Foyers (accredited learning and accommodation centres) and other sites that were originally intended for specialist housing being added to general development pipelines.
“The NHS and adult social care is increasingly viewing supported housing providers as the providers of solutions.”
In prime locations once lost these properties are gone forever.
This is unfortunate timing.
After years of arguing that health care commissioners need to acknowledge the role of supported housing in not only saving taxpayers’ money, but also in providing the kind of care that people want and need, the housing sector has finally got what it wanted: the NHS and adult social care is increasingly viewing supported housing providers as the providers of solutions to bed-blocking and expensive in-house housing solutions.