Housing services and integrated health and social care: housing advice note

Guidance for integration authorities, health boards and local authorities on their responsibilities to involve housing services in the integration of health and social care.

This document is part of a collection

2. The Role of Housing in the Integration of Health and Social Care

2.1. Local Authorities, Housing Associations and other housing organisations can make a contribution to the achievement of many of the National Health and Wellbeing Outcomes. For example, Outcome 2:

'People, including those with disabilities, long term conditions, or who are frail, are able to live, as far as reasonably practicable, independently and at home or in a homely setting in their community'.

2.2. Successful integration of health and social care services should provide for more people to be cared for and supported at home or in a homely setting. Outcome 2 aims to ensure delivery of community based services, with a focus on prevention and anticipatory care, to mitigate against inappropriate admission to hospital or long term care settings. It recognises that independent living is key to improving health and wellbeing, and responds to the Scottish Ministers' commitment to support the reshaping of services to better care for and support the increasing number of people with complex needs.

2.3. The housing sector has for many years contributed positively to improving health and well-being across our communities. However this now has to be taken to a new level to respond to the emerging challenges. For example it is not only about enabling independent living for people, but also being more effective in preventing admissions to hospital, alleviating delayed discharge and contributing to tackling health inequalities affecting the population.

2.4. Housing organisations have a track record of providing holistic support to tenants, residents and homeless people, which makes them well placed to align their services with integrated health and social care services. Examples of housing services which contribute to the achievement of the Health and Wellbeing outcomes include:

  • Providing and maintaining modern homes which meet the diverse needs of tenants, including those with particular needs;
  • Arranging and undertaking adaptations to council and Housing Association homes, and helping owners and private tenants to fund and undertake adaptations; providing preventative services such as Care and Repair and "handyperson" schemes;
  • Repairing and upgrading social rented housing;
  • Providing technology and telecare to help people manage their lives at home;
  • Ongoing housing support to those who need help to manage their life in their home; this can range from low level activity (such as tenancy support) to more intensive support for those with complex needs. It can be provided by social landlords [2] and other organisations to tenants and others in housing need.
  • Giving advice to those facing difficulties with their housing, including those facing increasing frailty and those at risk of homelessness; this can include advice on housing choices, welfare advice, advocacy support, befriending services, and assistance in finding alternative housing.
  • For those who do become homeless, providing emergency accommodation, temporary accommodation and settled accommodation, in each case with the appropriate level of housing support;
  • Providing housing and tenancy support to young people leaving care as well as access to other services.

2.5. This Advice Note covers the key aspects of joint working arrangements that are required at local level between Integration Authorities and the housing sector. There will be a particular connection with Local Authorities in their statutory role as strategic housing and planning authorities. Housing Associations and other housing service providers are also vital partners in both the planning and delivery of housing, care and support services.

2.6. The remainder of this Advice Note focuses on the main areas of importance in regard to joint working with the housing sector. These are:

  • Delegated and non-delegated housing functions ( Section 3)
  • Some key housing functions of particular relevance ( Section 4)
  • The Strategic Commissioning Plan and the role of Housing ( Section 5)
  • Locality Planning and the role of Housing ( Section 6)
  • The Housing Contribution Statement ( Section 7)

2.7. In some sections the key points highlight the points to follow in relation to joint working with the housing sector.


Email: hscintegration@gov.scot

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