In November 2020 the UK Government published ‘The Charter for Social Housing Residents’, their Social Housing White Paper. The paper outlines the measures the government aims to put in place to support residents or tenants in social housing.
Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said that the genesis for the Charter came from speaking to the residents of Grenfell Tower following the disaster in 2017. Speaking to survivors of the crisis, there were two clear themes, that they felt their voices were not heard and that they were not treated with dignity and respect. While the White Paper is not the answer to what happened at Grenfell Tower, it is with taking lessons from it and in the spirit of positive change that the Charter is being published.
ROBERT JENRICK, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE MINISTRY OF HOUSING, COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
“I want tenants to feel protected and empowered by a regulatory regime and a culture of transparency, accountability, decency and service befitting of the best intentions and traditions of social housing in this country.”
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER
“The proposals in this White Paper will make clear the standards that every social tenant in England is entitled to expect from their landlords.They will ensure that people feel safe and secure in their homes, can get problems fixed before they spiral out of control, and see exactly how good their landlord is at dealing with complaints.”
The Charter for Social Housing Residents outlines 7 chapters that all social housing residents should expect to be provided. These are:
To be safe in your home.
To know how your landlord is performing
To have your complaints dealt with promptly and fairly
To be treated with respect
To have your voice heard by your landlord
To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in
To be supported to take your first step to ownership
Elemental works with a number of housing associations to help improve the health inequalities within social housing communities through social prescribing. Tackling avoidable health inequalities is an essential step in helping these communities to thrive. More and more housing associations see social prescribing as playing a significant role in improving lives by creating meaningful connections between residents and their communities.
There are two key chapters where Elemental and social prescribing can help deliver on the Charter. These are to be safe in your home and to have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in. These chapters are about providing the support needed to empower individuals to improve their quality of life, a key feature of all social prescriptions.
TO BE SAFE IN YOUR HOME
The Charter states that ensuring good health through good quality, safe and decent homes
has been at the cornerstone of developing social housing over the past century and that the Grenfell Tower tragedy shook public trust in this and revealed significant failings.
“For residents, knowing you live in a safe, secure building is of paramount importance, for your physical safety and for your mental health.” The Charter for Social Housing Residents – The Social Housing White Paper.
TO HAVE A GOOD QUALITY HOME AND NEIGHBOURHOOD TO LIVE IN
As part of this section, the Charter outlines the importance of supporting positive mental and physical health of those in social housing communities. Social prescribing plays a key role in bridging the gap between the services available and the community, particularly for those most in need.
Approximately one in four people report living with a mental health issue. In addition to providing green spaces, the government is committed to increasing access to mental health services through the NHS Long Term Plan. The Plan provides an additional £2.3 billion per year by 2023/24 for mental health services. However, ensuring access to these services for social housing residents is key and is where digital social prescribing is crucial in reaching residents.
The Charter goes on to outline the importance of ensuring frontline housing staff have the knowledge and skills to work sensitively with those that are suffering with mental health conditions. The staff that are working closely are in a prime position to help people access the support they need. These staff could be trained to refer people on to social prescribing services or even highlighting those in need to a Link Worker. This would greatly help increase engagement and access to the services provided through the NHS Long Term Plan.
HOW ELEMENTAL CAN HELP YOU TO PROVIDE MORE THAN JUST BRICKS AND MORTAR
Many people in housing know that you can’t help communities thrive without tackling avoidable health inequalities. As a result, more and more Housing Associations see social prescribing playing a significant role in improving lives by creating meaningful connections between residents and their communities. Our digital social prescribing platform for housing will empower your communities and allow you to:
Develop social prescribing programmes that suit the needs of your communities
Engage more tenants to access and participate in community activities
Measure the impact of your community investments and build the capacity of your staff
Calculate the health and social value of alleviating health inequalities
If you would like to find out more about how Elemental can help your Housing organisation to align with the Government’s Charter for Social Housing and enhance the lives of your tenants and residents, pop your details below and we’ll be back in touch within 24 hours.