The Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration submitted a report to bring together in one document all forms of grant and other assistance the Council delivers via both mandatory and discretionary Grants and Loans designed to assist vulnerable occupiers to remain in their own home and to enable vulnerable owner occupiers to maintain their property.
The report outlined that the quality of a home has a substantial impact on health; a suitably adapted, warm, dry and secure home is associated with better health. The exact relationship between poor housing and health are complex and difficult to assess. However, research based on the various sources of housing and health data suggests that poor housing was associated with increased risk of falling, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and depression and anxiety. Overall the Building Research Establishment (BRE) has calculated that poor housing costs the NHS at least £600 million per year.
The Executive member was advised that the report had been circulated for comment to the Staying Put Agencys Advisory group which consists of external charitable organisations, Counsellors and other Public bodies such as the Fire Brigade. In addition to this, the document was circulated to Foundations who is appointed by the Department of Communities and Local Government to oversee a national network of nearly 200 home improvement agencies (HIAs) and handyperson providers across England. There has been no negative feedback from this circulation. The Housing Assistance Policy was attached to the report as an appendix.
The report outlined that there were two options available, the options and risks associated with both were detailed within the report.
During the meeting, the officer present advised that following the Strategy being submitted to Audit, the wording on page 10 of the Strategy had been changed to ensure 'Universal Credit was included.
That the Housing Assistance Policy be approved.
The decision was supported by the following reason:
The preventive assistance detailed in the Housing Assistance Policy was crucial to support older people, people of all ages with disabilities and those who are otherwise vulnerable to remain and live more independently and safely in their own homes.