Friday, 31 August 2018
As housing and support providers join together to celebrate ‘Starts at Home’ Day, Reside Housing Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Diane French, gives her personal take on the importance of supported housing.
During my career in health and social care I have witnessed many, many people benefit from living in safe and supported environments. Now I am privileged to lead Reside Housing Association – which is dedicated to providing supported housing – as CEO.
Reside is a specialist provider of housing for those who need support, enabling people to choose their support provider from their own home with the legal protection of a tenancy. We currently have over 1,300 tenants, are always happy to talk to people looking for housing solutions and always work in partnership with everyone who needs to be involved.
I could tell you stories of people enabled to escape modern day slavery – very vulnerable people, abused and living in cupboards, who now live in their own flat – or the registered blind tenant who lived alone, scared after a burglary at their home, who is now living happily in a community. I could tell you stories about people, assumed to have no abilities for independence, learning to make their own tea or being given real life choices for the first time. Or people moving out of institutions where they had ended up for far too many years.
Often, short-term supported housing helps people on the path to mental health recovery. We also support many people with learning disabilities to live full lives, integrated into society and living in their own home. Even where people have complex needs, tailored, creative supported housing offers real solutions and, in many instances, saves money for overstretched health and social care systems.
Parents and family members can often be afraid of what might happen when they are no longer around to be an advocate but, crucially, supported housing gives them peace of mind by offering their loved ones security and legal rights as tenants.
So I am supporting ‘Starts at Home’ Day because, over many years, I have seen first-hand the huge benefits good supported housing can have.