Mental health experts call for a change of policy on supported housing

In October, the government finally listened and dropped potentially disastrous plans to limit funding for supported housing. However, this victory was short-lived. The decision that local councils should fund short-term supported housing instead risks being just as damaging. Ministers say the new fund will be ringfenced, but we’ve been here before. Ringfences only last so long. When a similar ringfence was lifted back in 2009, cash-strapped councils cut funding by 45%. Tenants need the security of knowing that their rent will be covered and providers need security to invest long-term. This proposal provides neither.

Supported housing can mean someone is able to live independently in their community without having to face unnecessary stays in hospital. Stays in supported housing are also far cheaper, so they save vital NHS resources and provide a more suitable environment for people who need it. Already, the need for supported housing far outstrips supply. The new funding model could make this shortage worse and put further pressure on our health services. Supported housing saves lives.

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".