One of six NHS England Housing Leads explains the work being done with Transforming Care Partnerships (TCP) across the country to deliver the right housing options for people with a learning disability, autism or both:
I started my new job at the beginning of 2018 working as part of the housing team who are supporting the transforming care programme for people with a learning disability, autism or both.
There are six housing leads employed by NHS England across the country along with eight local authority regional advisers. Together we are working to expand the housing options which are available for people with a learning disability, autism or both so that as many people as possible can live in their own homes with the support that they need.
My background is in housing and partnership development and some of my previous roles have included working with local authorities in the North East to improve their partnership working around tackling homelessness; leading on specialist housing developments for people with support needs including people with a learning disability, autism or both and managing the care and repair services which delivered the housing adaptation services on behalf of local authorities.
My experience means I know all too well how important the right home with the right support is for people and, in some cases, had it been available closer to home, hospital admissions might not have been needed.
In this role I am working with the six transforming care partnerships in Yorkshire and Humber to understand what accommodation they need for local people until the end of the programme and beyond.
The right housing is not always easy to find and it is rarely developed quickly, so it’s crucial to understand what housing will be needed in the future in each of the TCP areas so that we can plan effectively and make best use of our resources.
NHS England has £20million of capital money to spend each year on accommodation and a big part of my role is getting providers interested in this and helping commissioners access the grant.
I try to help them make sense of the world of housing – who’s who, legislation, what resources are out there and how to work with housing teams – and then reporting back to the programme board and making sure we make the progress we need to.
Through the housing developments I have led on in the past, I know the real tangible difference that the right home, designed sensitively with the right support services in place can reduce the incidents of behaviours which challenge, improve someone’s wellbeing, life skills, confidence and independence.
I am really enjoying working with my clinical commissioning groups and adult services colleagues and hopefully they are finding having housing leads in their area to support their efforts is making their jobs a little easier.