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16 April 2019

Breaking down barriers to housing for complex needs

Recently we were delighted to host a brokering housing and support solutions event, looking at overcoming the barriers to housing provision for adults with complex needs.

Organised by the National Housing Federation, the event brought together representatives from local authorities, commissioners and housing providers to discuss future ways of working collaboratively.

NCHA colleagues joined Tuntum Housing, EMH Homes, Acis Group, Riverside and Metropolitan Thames Valley to speak to commissioners from local councils. We also welcomed speakers Rachael Byrne from HomeGroup and Claire Labdon-West of Nottingham City Council.

In the East Midlands there is an identified gap in the provision of specialist supported housing. Commissioners and housing providers are all working to achieve the same outcomes, but different organisational ways of working can present challenges and result in a lack of services.

The meeting, chaired by Holly Dagnall, Director of Homes and Wellbeing for NCHA, gave the participating organisations the opportunity to come together, to identify barriers and seek cross-sector solutions.

At the end of the meeting, all participants resolved to set up a Task and Finish Group to continue this vital conversation and put forward solutions.

Larraine Dickens, Business Development Manager at NCHA commented: “The event was a valuable opportunity for housing providers and commissioners to have an honest, open dialogue about the opportunities and constraints we are all working within, stimulating great ideas about how we build cross-sector solutions when brokering housing and support solutions for people with complex needs. It was good to take time to talk through and understand each others problems.”

Helen Greig from the National Housing Federation added: “This event should be seen as a starting point for the sector and commissioners to develop closer working relationships as the environment for delivering care and support changes. Between us, we can improve the lives of vulnerable people in our communities – but working together is key”

Key points discussed at the meeting included:
  • Social Care and Transforming Care strategies that look at future housing need. Housing Strategies and planning decisions that support social care needs eg. helping people to move on.
  • More market engagement between commissioners (local authority and health) and housing providers so there is a better understanding of what is out there and what can be delivered and the constraints organisations face.
  • Are leasehold models the answer or an expensive way to deliver?
  • More joint working / commissioning between local Clinical Commissioning Groups and local authority commissioners but this takes time and buy in at a senior level.
  • Defining routes to accessing NHS England capital funding.
  • Need to influence central government to make funding more joined up and timescales more realistic, to be able to develop local solutions.
  • Clarity of expectations in supported housing. How are we using supported housing? Should we be moving people through moving a pathway towards independent living? Are we promoting good services?
  • Funding voids can affect the viability of a development. Sharing risk between housing provider and commissioner needs to be considered.
  • A need for a whole system approach which will bring a variety of options to meet peoples support needs.