Specialised Supported Housing: An integral part of the future of health and social care (Part 1)

In this 5 Part series Paul Russell, a Partner at Keebles LLP, looks at Specialised Supported Housing in depth.

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Specialised Supported Housing: An integral part of the future of health and social care (Part 1)

In this 5 Part series Paul Russell, a Partner at Keebles LLP, looks at Specialised Supported Housing in depth.

He’ll look specifically at, and what, Specialised Supported Housing is and how it can be deployed as one of many strategies to improve the lives of those currently living in residential care.

Both the NHS and our Local Authorities do a great job of looking after some of our most vulnerable citizens. That is a statement most people wholeheartedly agree with. However, under the surface of such a broad statement lies the fact our social care and welfare system – particularly in the context of the social housing model – is at breaking point, both in terms of fiscal constraint and the provision of suitable housing.

Broader and more creative strategies to help fight the current social housing crisis are required (and are thankfully being encouraged) across the entire health and social care landscape.

One such resource that has come to the fore in recent years, primarily in terms of delivering adult social care, is Specialised Supported Housing.

Let us start by defining terms. In simple terms Specialised Supported Housing is housing stock provided by regulated housing associations/registered providers. It is delivered without any public subsidy or grant funding and is housing which has been specifically constructed or adapted for those with mental and/or physical difficulties: people that otherwise would have to be cared for in a residential or institutional setting.

Specialised Supported Housing is designed to be a resident’s home for life and which gives them much more autonomy to determine how their care needs are met (and by whom).

In the wake of the Winterbourne View scandal and the official reports that followed (including the influential 2018 Mencap Report), Government policy has moved away from institutional care as the primary means of looking after people with learning and physical difficulties. Whilst it is clear that such homes are vital for some resident groups, they are not vital for many people with, for example, autism or other learning difficulties who live a considerable distance from their friends and families in an environment where their own personal care and support needs are not being adequately met.

More and more research and data tells us that people living in suitably adapted accommodation, within a community environment (in a shared home, for example) are thriving. Many have reduced their feelings of social isolation and reduced their levels of anxiety. Many are now working and have control over their finances which has given them greater aspiration and confidence thanks to having somewhere of their own that they can call home.

We also know how expensive residential care homes are to run; it is estimated that a residential care home bed costs around £3,500 per week (for care and housing) compared to an estimated £1,500 a week for a home in Specialised Supported Housing.

Demand for this type of accommodation is growing but it is great to see that demand is now being driven by Local Authorities genuinely looking to bring greater benefits to peoples’ lives.

In Part 2 we will look at digging deeper into the Specialised Supported Housing model and start by looking at home schemes are looked for, commissioned and then delivered but in the meantime if you would like to find out more about how Keebles LLP is already helping registered providers, care providers, local authorities or property developers in the Specialised Supported Housing sector, please email Paul Russell at paul.russell@keebles.com or call Paul on 0114 252 1409.

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