Accommodation

  • People with severe problems often require differing levels of support with daily living, relationships and interventions are often delivered in their own homes or in shared accommodation with variable staff input (from visiting to 24 hour care).
  • In England, around a third of working age adults with severe mental health problems (around 60,000 people) reside in supported accommodation provided by health and social services, voluntary organisations, housing associations and other independent providers. These include nursing and residential care homes, group homes, hostels, blocks of individual or shared tenancies with staff on site, and independent tenancies with “floating” or outreach support from visiting staff.
  • Many people with mental health conditions nevertheless live in mainstream housing but housing providers are often not confident about how to support a tenant with mental health conditions; as a result people are more likely to be allocated unsuitable or unacceptable accommodation.
  • Lack of housing can impede access to treatment, recovery and social inclusion; accessing mental health services and employment is more difficult for people who do not have settled accommodation. Having secure and settled accommodation, with the right kind of support, can have a positive impact on people’s recovery.
  • Housing support services48-50 :
    • lower the frequency of unplanned admissions into psychiatric wards and the rates at which community mental health services are used
    • reduce the rates at which the people with severe problems became homeless (reducing use of homelessness shelters) and the rates at which they were arrested
    • improve well-being among people with severe problems
    • reduce other US welfare and health system costs.
    • The effects of supported housing on people with severe problems in the UK have been less formally evaluated51.

Length of stays have been shown to be strongly related to accommodation problems suggesting a key role for integrated and efficient systems and pathways for addressing these needs (see Case for Change – Crisis)