Stephen McPartland visited a housing project in Stevenage that provides direct help to adults with mental health problems by offering one-bedroom flats on a tenancy basis, with staff available 24 hours a day to provide support as needed. The team leader commented to Stephen, “No two days are the same. Sometimes we help tenants deal with paperwork to access local services, at other times it can be a listening ear over a cup of tea.”
The flats are run by the Hightown Praetorian & Churches Housing Association, based in Hertfordshire, who provide a range of social housing and other accommodation, supporting aspiring tenants to own their homes as well as offering more specialist accommodation and care homes. As part of a wider group of housing associations, East 7, they are working to improve the provision of affordable housing and services for people in the region.
The CEO of the association, David Bogle, hosted the visit to the Oakley Road site, together with John Cross who is the current Chairman of East 7. The primary aim of the scheme is to accommodate referred adults, help them gain independence and take back control of their lives, and finally assist them in finding permanent accommodation.
The cost of much of the provision of the affordable housing and services is met from a variety of different public sector sources. Under Labour the bureaucracy is out of control, leading to money being wasted, unnecessary staff time taken up in seeking funding and uncertainties arising about whether budgets will be available in the future.
Stephen said, “If the Conservatives are elected we will look to reduce this bureacratic waste so we can improve support for local people and provide them with first rate services.”