Housing organisations do much more than build and manage ‘housing’. They already do a lot to promote people’s wellbeing and prevent people from requiring intensive and expensive healthcare. Collectively, they:
- Work with communities to improve people’s health and wellbeing
- Support people to live productive lives and build their confidence
- Offer their residents advice relating to benefits, money and debt, assistance into training and employment, personalised support to help them keep their tenancies.
- Support people to live independently within the community rather than in institutional settings
- Provide care services to vulnerable individuals – including older people, homeless people, people with mental health problems, people with learning difficulties
- Make safe the homes and living environments of older, disabled and vulnerable home owners
- Build and manage specialist housing, providing appropriate support for older people, disabled people, homeless people and those with chaotic lifestyles and complex mental health needs.
- Build and manage a wide range of types of general homes in sustainable communities.
Housing organisations have started to developed services specifically aimed at reducing pressure on the NHS, in partnership with relevant agencies. These include:
- Social prescribing and community navigator services, working from GP surgeries and building on their connections with other local agencies
- Seeking out people who are at greatest risk of poor health outcomes, and identifying and putting in place measures (including but limited to housing ones) that reduce that risk
- Providing appropriate levels of care for older people to keep them living independently
- Quick response lifting services, to attend to people who fall at home, in their homes, rather than being admitted to hospital – often in partnership with the ambulance service
- Hospital discharge services, to make sure people have a suitable home to go back to, make it safe and warm and to put support in place to reduce the likelihood of readmission
- Step down accommodation and reablement services to facilitate successful discharge and promote recovery
They are used to working in partnership with others to address social issues. Some can draw on their significant financial capacity to bring about transformational change in service provision. Some of the ways they do this to make positive change within communities:
- provide back office functions and financial security to small, specialist community providers
- invest £millions in programmes to improve people’s health and wellbeing
- provide or build properties or premises, designed for specific purposes
- participate in consortia with charities and community organisations, often taking the lead provider role
Housing organisations are all different. They have different specialisms and appetite for innovation. The best way to find out what they do, or could do, to assist with transformation of the NHS, is to talk to them.
Click here for advice about who to talk to you your locality
Click here to watch an animation from Placeshapers about ways in which housing organisations work to improve people’s health and wellbeing.