Homes at the Heart - Living Well

Throughout the month of August the National Housing Federation (which represents housing associations across the country) is running a campaign to highlight the importance of supported housing.  This week's theme is `Living Well' and seeks to demonstrate how important stable, good quality housing is to a person's health and wellbeing. 

In this blog Ian Gilders, Director of Housing talks about the impact on customer's health and wellbeing during lockdown as well as the potentially devastating effect of cuts to services.

"In the 30 years I have worked in social care and housing, rarely has the position for people with mental health problems seemed more fragile. Service users and service providers were all worried about coronavirus and going into lockdown, but from a mental health perspective it seems to be only now that the scale of the real issues is emerging.

The coronavirus has had so many impacts on all our lives, starting with the tens of thousands of people who have died in the UK alone and continuing with the wider social and economic impact which will be felt for many years to come. There can’t be anyone reading this who has not had their life impacted economically, socially or in terms of their mental and physical health. And as we come out of lockdown, psychological distress is emerging in various ways.

Advance specialises in the supported housing sector, providing housing and support services to people with mental health conditions and learning and physical disabilities. We are seeing services and agencies stretched to the limit by the very real mental health challenges people are facing. The mental health emergency is real and it is impacting everywhere."  

"The psychological impacts are likely to be greater for those with pre-existing traumatic experiences who also face discrimination and exclusion and an adult social care system we all know is in desperate need of reform. We support the call by the Centre for Mental Health for the Government to prepare for a rising tide of mental health issues this Winter and invest in services accordingly. Seasonal flu, Brexit uncertainty, the end of furlough, recession and individual financial crises, as well as a potential second wave of COVID-19 are all converging and mean we must prioritise mental health support and specifically for those who are most vulnerable.

Sadly we are seeing an equal challenge for our customers with learning disabilities. Mencap recently reported that during the pandemic 69% of people with a learning disability had their social care cut when they needed it most. And many of these people are now enduring a longer lockdown as restrictions are eased for others. We join the chorus of support for reform of adult social care in this country and the seven principles set out to underpin that reform."

You can read Ian's full blog in full here.