Supported Housing Report: This could cost lives
Our new report based on a survey of 117 staff members who work in supported housing services for people with mental illness reveals 84% believe that the Government’s new funding proposals would mean their service would probably close.
Under the Government’s proposals, anyone needing supported housing for fewer than two years will have to rely local authorities to fund the housing they need. Instead of being supported to live independently in the community, people severely affected by mental illness are more likely to face distressing and unnecessary stays in hospital because of these plans.
This is the first time that views of staff on the frontline have been sought on the Government’s funding reforms. The results echo the concerns that have been expressed by charities, the housing sector, and investors and give a stark illustration of the impact they could have.
Key findings include:
- 84% believe that the existence of their service could be threatened by the Government’s proposals.
- 81% believe that people who need mental health supported housing will be less likely to access the support they need if they are reliant on local authority funding.
- 60% feel that the role their service plays in reducing demands on the NHS (e.g. through reducing out of area placements and admissions/readmissions to hospital) would be harmed by the short-term model. This would have enormous cost implications for the NHS.
- Only 12% are confident that demand for mental health supported housing will be met in their area under the proposals. People severely affected by mental illness will be in competition with other vulnerable groups for limited funding.
- 72% believe that the supply of mental health supported housing will be reduced if it is removed. The same number (72%) believe that investment in short-term services will decline if the new model is introduced.
The overwhelming view of the service managers and staff that we spoke to was that the Government’s reforms will make mental health supported housing harder to access for the people whose lives it is designed to transform. If enacted, thousands of vulnerable people could go without the support they need, and there would be enormous additional costs for the NHS.