Strengthening the link between health, housing and care

Wednesday, 21 March 2018 - 5:51pm
woman in supported housing

This document, which has support from Government departments and organisations across the health, care and housing sectors, outlines key principles for joint working to improve health and care outcomes.

The MoU was originally published in late 2014 and signatories, including Homeless Link, have undertaken a wide range of work over the past number of years to embed these principles of joint action and ensure recognition of the relationship between a person’s housing circumstance and health outcomes. There have been some successes, with local areas developing their own memorandums of understanding to encourage joint action, greater engagement of health agencies in discussions about housing and vice versa, and a number of reports and research projects adding to the growing evidence base. However, there is still work to be done.  

‘I am delighted to see this renewed commitment by so many partners to joined-up working on health and housing. Our homes are a fundamental part of what keeps us healthy. I welcome the commitment that so many of our organisations are making to improving health through the home.’ Dr Ann Marie Connolly, Deputy Director for Health Equity and Mental Health at Public Health England

The renewed MoU incorporates some of the key changes to the policy context since the last iteration and reflects on the achievements of the signatories so far. It also sets out some future indicators of success – the outcomes we would hope to see as the sectors become better integrated.

These include:

  • Better strategic planning so that housing and homelessness are reflected in key strategy and planning processes for health, social care and local government at both a national and local level.
  • Better understanding of the role a stable and secure housing situation plays in keeping people healthy and independent.
  • Greater recognition of housing’s contribution to different care pathways, including discharge planning or alternatives to admission.
  • Frontline housing, homelessness, health and social care professionals knowing which services and interventions are available across the other sectors locally and how to refer people to these.

Homeless Link is pleased to be one of the signatories to the renewed MoU. Our membership of the Health and Wellbeing Alliance and our work to support localities to undertake an audit of the health needs of people experiencing homelessness in their area are just some ways we will continue to develop stronger links between homelessness and supported housing services and the wider health and social care sector.