“At Home?” is the report of a study of mental health issues arising in mainstream (or “general needs”) social housing, originally commissioned by NIMHE NEY&H RDC, as part of their on-going social inclusion programme.
This study begins with a survey of the views and experiences of frontline social housing staff. Over 150 staff were interviewed about mental health problems that they encounter in the course of their work.
They were asked what kinds of problems they encountered; how they found trying to work with mental health services; and what worked, and what they thought needed to happen, to improve inter-agency co-operation, and to provide a better, more “joined up” service.
The central section of the report is a reportage, in which the experiences of housing staff are expressed by a string of direct quotations, which cover a wide range of inter-connected issues, from communications to lettings policies, the value of housing support and impact of the Supporting People programme, and the need for more strategic development and “joined up targets”.
From these, a complex picture of the emerging role of social housing in community begins to appear; and from this picture, the draft report goes on to draw some general points and broad recommendations; and three key messages.
From these three broad positions stem the specific recommendations both for immediate practical measures at local level to improve communications and co-operation between these two sectors, and for guidance and direction from national audit and quality assurance bodies, to monitor and incentivise closer co-operation.
Articles in the press on “At Home?”
The report was received by the CSIP/NIMHE national inter-agency Housing Reference Group, and originally published on the National Social Inclusion Programme website (now defunct).
The full report is nevertheless available in the Publications section. Many of the specific recommendations are now common practice. Here nevertheless we summarise the key messages, which continue to need saying.