Councils must ensure ethnic minority needs are met in new housing support regime

Local authorities should expand the range and diversity of
services for black and minority ethnic people in need of support,
according to new ‘Supporting People’ guidance.

Services for black and ethnic minority people in need of support
should also be expanded where they are under represented among
service users of mainstream services, states the guidance from the
department of transport, local government and the regions.

‘Reflecting the Needs and Concerns of Black and Minority Ethnic
Communities in Supporting People’ aims to ensure that issues of
concern to black and ethnic minority users, providers and their
representatives are understood by those developing and implementing
the Supporting People programme locally.

Supporting People is a new housing support funding programme
that is implemented in April 2003.

The guide says that commitments to equality and diversity in
mainstream services should not be superseded by small scale
specialist provision in an area. “Specialist services for black and
minority ethnic users are a complement, not an alternative,” it

Cross authority arrangements could be used to commission
specialist services to meet the needs of numerically small black
and minority ethnic communities, it suggests.

Gerard Lemos, author of the guide, said that it is aimed at
local authorities which commission services, as it sets out what
they need to do at key stages of the Supporting People
implementation to ensure that black and minority ethnic needs are
met. It is also aimed at mainstream providers to address access,
quality of service and discrimination, and to specialist providers
to make sure they remain involved in the programme.

“We’re pretty optimistic. My impression is that a lot of
goodwill on this subject, but that people need help and support
doing the right thing,” he said.




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