Government departments, the Chartered Institute of Housing, NHS England, the Homes and Communities Agency and other organisations have signed up to an agreement promoting joint action to improve health through housing.
Under the 2014 Care Act there is a requirement for closer cooperation of services supporting health and wellbeing. This new agreement sets out the framework for partnerships to deliver healthy homes, communities and neighbourhoods. It recognises that poor and unsuitable housing can affect physical and mental health, saying, “The home is a driver of health inequalities, and those living in poverty are more likely to live in poorer housing, precarious housing circumstances or lack accommodation altogether.”
The agreement says that the right home environment should:
- Be warm and affordable to heat
- Be free from hazards, safe from harm and promote a sense of security
- Enable movement and be accessible, including to visitors.
It recognises that it can also “protect and improve health and wellbeing and prevent physical and mental ill-health”.
It sets out an action plan intended to ensure organisations work together to:
- Establish and support national and local dialogue
- information exchange and decision-making across government, health, social care and housing sectors;
- Coordinate health, social care, and housing policy
- Enable improved collaboration and integration of healthcare and housing in the planning, commissioning and delivery of homes and services
- Promote the housing sector contribution to: addressing the wider determinants of health; health equity; improvements to patient experience
- Develop the workforce across sectors so that they are confident and skilled in understanding the relationship between where people live and their health and wellbeing.