GMCA partnership for better homes, neighbourhoods and health

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) leaders for housing, health, social care and local government have agreed to prioritise good health in their future decisions about planning, new homes and the support offered to residents.

The approach builds on Greater Manchester’s work that has successfully supported hundreds of people who were sleeping rough, or were homeless, into their own stable and supported homes.

The unique Better Homes, Better Neighbourhoods, Better Health ‘Tripartite Agreement’ between Greater Manchester Housing Providers, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and the GMCA was launched at an online event.

It is believed to be the first time in England that housing, health and local government have agreed to work together in this way to achieve these long term objectives.

The collaboration builds on existing successful joint housing and health projects, such as:

  • A Bed Every Night - the scheme to provide accommodation for people who sleep rough, which has received significant NHS funding in order to improve physical and mental health.
  • Housing First – which is providing hundreds of new homes and support for people who had been sleeping rough, or have complex needs, helping them by providing the stability of their own home.
  • Social Impact Bond – which has helped hundreds of people who had been sleeping rough into safe and supported accommodation.
  • Let Us – the Greater Manchester ethical lettings agency that provides management services to private landlords through the services of housing association partners.
  • Work to support mental health patients out of hospital to move into their own home, where they have been supported with their health needs, as well as being provided with help to sustain their tenancies and develop independence.
  • Training of health and housing frontline workers to identify and plan for people’s health needs alongside their housing needs, particularly with vulnerable groups, such as people who sleep rough, migrants or sex workers.

Leaders for housing, health and local government have now agreed to go much further in their joint working by:

Creating the right housing in quality neighbourhoods

  • Working together to plan new housing and communities that enhance health by providing the right physical, social and green infrastructure, and by ensuring people can access health, social care, work, education and training.
  • Building 50,000 truly affordable homes by 2037, of which 30,000 would be for social rent, and ensuring they are available to the residents who would most benefit from them.
  • More housing that meets health needs or the need for social care.

Supporting more vulnerable households

  • Providing homes and support suitable for people who have needs, such as learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s, mental health issues and physical disabilities.
  • Providing accommodation for young people who have left the care system, helping them to live independently.

Supporting people who are homeless or sleeping rough

  • Keep in place the support and solutions implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Retain schemes, such as A Bed Every Night, Social Impact Bond and Housing First.
  • Expand the ethical lettings agency to make available an additional 800 homes by 2024.

Improving access and choice

  • Coordinating the way social housing is allocated across Greater Manchester.
  • Involving housing providers more closely with local health teams.

Climate change

  • Supporting the goal for all new build homes to be carbon neutral by 2028 and to insulate and adapt existing housing to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Jobs, training and Covid-19 recovery

  • Ensuring that investment in housing also opens up new training and work opportunities, particularly for people who may need retraining or support, recognising that good work is good for mental health.
  • Supporting the economic and social recovery from Covid-19 by helping those most affected into new job opportunities.

Commenting, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “We have shown in Greater Manchester that we can support people with the most complex housing and health needs into safe, secure and supported accommodation.

“We have done that because we work in partnership across the housing, health and local government sectors, and because we have received fantastic support from voluntary, community and faith organisations.

“We don’t simply provide a flat or a house, we also provide the support that allows people to overcome or manage mental health and physical health difficulties.

“Now we want to go much further, to provide homes that much better meet the needs of people with a range of physical or health difficulties and to ensure our homes and neighbourhoods are healthy places to live for everyone.”

Chair of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese added: “If we are genuinely committed to improving the lives of all Greater Manchester residents, it is essential that the NHS, local government and housing providers work together.

“No single organisation in the city region can hope to address all the factors that impact on people’s wellbeing alone, especially when health and economic inequalities remain intrinsically connected.

“Creating good quality, appropriate and secure housing is a vital step towards reducing health inequalities, providing the literal foundations for people to build a better future.

“The Tripartite Agreement will see us develop our collaborative approach to improve people’s opportunities to get on and stay well.”

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