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'Housing with care is the future.'

Person centred holistic support is an area that is under huge scrutiny at the current time; so it was with interest that we read the article written by Paul Burstow MP (Chair of Demos' Commission on Residential Care) this morning, concerning the future of residential care and housing with support in the UK.  The slashing of related housing and care budgets in the face of greater demand driven by an aging population; the justified ever rising standards requested by a person in need along with their supporters; and the residential care sector's tarnished image caused by recent stories of abuse, have all fuelled the UK public to question what breadth of support provision is right?

T.P Properties was born from the residential care sector.  At the time supported living homes were all but a pipe dream.  And indeed, the company has worked with residential organisations to adapt their structures to embrace housing with support models.  These facts are not offered by way of shouting that supported living is by any means better than the system of residential care, but to merely show a holistic understanding of the many facets of care provision.

It is our belief that the system of housing and care should be kept as broad as is possible, with a full and vibrant range of options.  No two people are the same.  Each person selecting their future dwelling and care provision should be able to dip into a sector that offers variety, quality and value. To this end we believe, along with Mr Burstow, that it is important to engage in a proper debate about the problems that risk destabilising particularly the residential care sector.  We welcome the work that the commission is undertaking to deliver a vision of future care provision that is dynamic and fit for purpose.  As Paul Burstow said, 'retirement villages and adapted flats (are) needed as well as traditional care homes.'

Currently 450,000 people in England live in residential care with a much smaller number living in supported living homes.  It is our aim, and it seems one shared by Mr Burstow, that more people are offered the opportunity to select housing with support.  'As we are living longer lives, housing with care is going to become increasingly important in helping us stay independent, happy and healthy... It is vital that government wake up to this reality sooner rather than later and helps create the right incentives to ensure older and disabled people have a genuine choice when they need to move.'

The demands placed on NHS trusts to free up unused land to build supported housing upon; the suggestions to relax planning rules to encourage investment; and the embracing of 'lifetime homes standards' offer exciting prospects for the future.  NHS trusts are now recognising that inappropriate housing is costing the country millions as patients are unable to be safely discharged from hospital.  One could reasonably suggest that supported living homes could offer a win: win for both the individual concerned and public coffers.

We have known for some time that housing with support offers substantial savings to the council purse, but this arguement needs greater volume.  Capgemini's report in 2009 found that investment in packages of support that included housing-related support services avoided costs elsewhere, producing a net financial benefit; for every £1.00 invested in preventative services a £2.13 saving was made to statutory services' budgets.  In addition, the NHF found in 2013 that through the integration of care, support and housing savings of £18,000 per person, per year could be achieved; it continues to encourage an 'alternative care pathway' to well-being.

The future looks strong for housing with support, and according to Mr Burstow it seems set to increase its share of provision.  However, we believe there is adequate room for all players in the market.  Residential care is critical part of the sector.  Our call is one in which we provide the very best in every facet.  'Only by thinking big can we ensure that a 21st Century vision for care will be reached’ which embraces all.

'Housing with care will become more and more important.' Paul Burstow MP