HOUSING associations which provide housing and care services to the East Midland’s most vulnerable people are joining forces for the National Housing Federation’s Midlands Support Matters Month (October), to raise awareness of the impact supported housing has on people’s lives.
Throughout October they are holding a series of events to showcase a range of services they provide to remind local politicians that these services stop people falling through the gaps and ultimately reduce reliance on benefits.
Supported housing services save the public purse by easing the burden on the National Health Service, police and other statutory services. Research has shown that every pound spent on housing support services saves up to £2.65 on other public services.
However, as these services are non-statutory, they are vulnerable to cuts. Many have already been subject to huge reductions in funding in parts of the East Midlands.
An ageing population and rising homelessness are making these services even more important.
In 2011 3,650 households were accepted as homeless and in priority need in the East Midlands, an increase of more than 600 from 2009. Over 77,400 older people currently receive support services in the East Midlands.
In the East Midlands there are nearly 1,700 housing related care and support services, helping more than 95,400 people live independently. They provide:
· purpose built accommodation with inbuilt training, support and education facilities to support young people
· refuges for women fleeing domestic violence
· support for people with mental health problems
· accommodation support for people with disabilities and learning disabilities,
· sheltered and extra care housing for older people.
Chris Hobson, East Midlands lead manager for the National Housing Federation said: “This is a golden opportunity for local politicians to learn more about the support provided for vulnerable people in their communities.
“Housing associations throughout the East Midlands are organising events during October to showcase the work they do and the positive impact that has on people’s lives. As many of these local politicians commission these very services, we’re hoping they come and meet the people behind the services and those who benefit from them so they can understand their true value.”
Jackie King-Owen, chairman of the East Midlands Care and Support Group, said: “The care and support side of the housing sector has had to weather some hefty cuts to funding in recent years. Midlands Support Matters Month aims to bring together the people who commission services with those who provide them and those who receive them. It’s a fantastic opportunity for all concerned, which I hope will help to underline the value of the work this sector does on a daily basis to improve people’s lives.”