North East Connected

Coast & Country backs Starts at Home initiative

The Starts at Home initiative is highlighting positive stories using case studies of people who have gained independence, confidence and more fulfilment out of life through supported housing.

The initiative is also campaigning against Government plans to cap the amount of rent that Housing Benefit will cover. If the cap is applied to vulnerable tenants living in supported housing it could have a damaging effect on many lives. The change in law could leave vulnerable adults up to £68 a week worse off.

Coast & Country’s Redcare scheme opened its first supported housing development, The Shore, in February of this year and is preparing for the launch of its second, The Dunes in spring 2017.

The Shore resident, Naomi Atwood has shared her life-changing story on the Starts at Home website. Supported housing has allowed Naomi to live independently, make friends and enjoy a living within a sociable community.

Coast & Country will partake in the Starts at Home Day on Thursday 1st September using social media to spread the supported housing message. Users will be encouraged to post on social media using the #StartsatHome hashtag.

Iain Sim, Chief Executive of Coast & Country, said: “We are delighted to get involved in the Starts at Home initiative, it is vital in securing more funding for supported housing.  At Coast & Country, we have seen first-hand the life changing effects supported living can have. Naomi, a resident at The Shore, is just one of the fantastic people for whom assisted living has dramatically improved their quality of life.

“I encourage anyone who feels passionate about securing more funding for supported housing to get involved on social media on Thursday 1st September to help drive this campaign forward.”

Speaking for Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Councillor David Walsh, Cabinet member for Adult Services said “The crucial issue is that Supported Housing is specifically designed for people who have special needs due to illness, disability, mental health needs or issues like blindness.

“Supported housing is different to general social housing and certainly requires higher levels of funding through rental income. This is due to having to meet special needs of residents for example with in house support staff, special aids or adaptations.

“Therefore, it means that these forms of tenancy will be dramatically affected by any Housing Benefit Cap disproportionally. If the cap remains at the present proposed limit, then it is certain that some of the schemes we want to progress with Coast & Country as our partners will certainly be at risk.

“I need to spell out the ridiculous outcomes that could happen if this cap is not relaxed.

“We could, for instance, have an elderly and disabled person who has left hospital, having to be admitted to a residential home at a cost of many hundreds of pounds a week instead of that person living in the environment of their own home.

“We could have a young person with severe learning difficulties not being able to live near to his or her hometown and family, and instead having to live in a multi-occupancy residential unit many miles away instead of in a proper living environment.

“This is silly economics and silly social policy. We ask the Government to think again – and the quicker the better, so we can get the foundations laid.”

If you would like read more about Naomi’s story go to:

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