New homes offer a fresh start for people delayed on hospital wards

Posted: 15/07/2021

Ten people from Salford are going to be the first to benefit from a new partnership that is helping patients receiving treatment for mental health conditions move out of hospital and make a new start in a permanent home.

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has partnered with ForHousing as part of a £1.8million project to make sure people can be discharged from hospital or temporary mental health supported accommodation and return to the community.

A lack of suitable properties can lead to long delays in patients being discharged from hospital, with NHS data suggesting that over 40% of patients currently receiving care in mental health hospitals do not actually need to be there.

ForHousing has offered the Trust direct access to ten of its homes, with one of the landlord’s dedicated Housing Support Officers providing intensive support for tenants, one of whom has been waiting for a home for nine years.

ForHousing will continue to provide support for six months, empowering each individual to take control of their own tenancy, boost their wellbeing, feel confident in looking after their new home and finances, and being on hand for any further help or advice needed.

Five people have been successfully supported to settle into their new homes so far.

“This project recognises the importance of housing in supporting an individual’s recovery and enabling them to live well in their own home,” said Karen Fitzsimon, Community and Supported Housing Lead for ForHousing.

“It’s still early days but we’re already seeing the benefits and the difference this can make to people’s lives. Feedback from users, families and professionals has been extremely positive so far.

“Having both a person-centred and flexible approach is extremely important to us and something we put at the heart of every project we do. We want to help people find not just a property but the right home that feels right for them, in a supportive and diverse community. This is really vital in this process and we’re looking forward to working more closely with Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust over the next few months.”

The promise of a permanent home is a huge step for patients, with mental ill health frequently cited as one of the main reasons for tenancy breakdown and homelessness, while housing problems are often the reason for a mental health crisis.

The need to break that cycle has led to the investment from the NHS and forms part of ForHousing’s wellbeing strategy.

The landlord believes a stable, safe, quality home is essential for putting down roots in a community and capitalising on opportunities.

“I think the project is a brilliant idea, the transition of individuals leaving hospital and securing their own accommodation is always a long and difficult process,” said Kevin Corcoran, the Care Coordinator for one of the people identified for the project.

“It will have a significant impact on the individuals leaving acute support and also Mental Health services trying to secure accommodation for their patients.”

Deborah Partington, Director of Operations at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We know many people with a mental health issue can live independently in their own home, after an inpatient stay in hospital and as a mental health trust, we are here to provide a range of options and support to maintain this.

“Good quality housing and having settled accommodation is known to have a positive impact on mental health. It provides a basis for people to recover, receive appropriate support and to build resilience and we are pleased to be part of such an encouraging initiative with ForHousing.”

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