Opportunity knocks – Partners in Housing

housing associations have provided low cost housing to people on low incomes.
But times are changing and so are the opportunities for registered social
landlords to explore ways of expanding their range of services.

registered social landlords are now moving increasingly into the care field,
and it appears there are good reasons for this.

only is it sensible for them because they are able to offer a more inclusive
service to their residents, but it also, it appears, makes sound financial

evidence of the increasing involvement of housing associations in the provision
of care varies around the country, but there is a discernible trend.

Ramsden, who is a policy officer with the National Housing Federation, said
some of the larger RSLs are definitely making changes.

cited both Circle 33 and North British housing associations as examples of
large social landlords, which have altered their structures to reflect the new

Hampson, who is head of policy at Look Ahead Housing and Care housing
association, says his organisation now provides services across London and the
south east, including an outreach element, to rough sleepers, people with
mental health problems, and people with learning difficulties. They also run
traditional supported housing.

says Look Ahead is an example of a new breed of housing associations, which are
looking to broaden their functions.

of Hampson’s job is to ensure there is some co-ordination between the project managers
of the different services. It is a challenge for RSLs to ensure that when they
take on new roles, he said, the internal structures are able to respond to the
extra burdens.

the association’s clients and residents there are good reasons for housing
associations offering more comprehensive services.

needs housing associations have a lot of stock in run-down areas, with housing
management problems, and they are to do with people not having enough
support," Hampson says.

also believes many of the government’s regeneration initiatives have failed to
take account of the more personal support needs many people have.

regeneration agenda is very much around physical regeneration of buildings etc.
Social services and support have been neglected," he says.

says the failure has led to problems such as violence in neighbourhoods.

Ahead has ‘tenancy sustainment teams’, funded by the government’s rough
sleepers unit, which help people learn how to live independently and not lose
their tenancies.

believes the teams could work on large estates, where many people have mental
health problems of varying degrees. "This could be a model for the
future," he says.

still think in terms of sectors, but we have to be very much more joined
up," he says.

also points to financial reasons behind the shift underway in some
associations. Under Supporting People, the government’s new funding regime for
supported housing, RSLs have funding opportunities not available several years

People means people will have to be much clearer about what support services
they provide and the housing services they provide.

is a much more flexible system of funding and it is much easier to receive
funding for a service that is not tied to tenure," she says.

and support services can fit well together and housing associations are ideally
placed to offer both.

government’s agenda of partnership working between different agencies means
social care and housing services must move closer together, and for housing
associations there are opportunities to broaden the range of services they

residents of RSL homes this can only be a positive development. Having a
landlord who can help you in other aspects of your life will surely be welcomed
by many vulnerable people.


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