In support of Autism Awareness Month – April 2021

So far in our articles in support of Autism Awareness Month we’ve acknowledged that, whilst many people who have learning disabilities can live very happily and successfully in typical existing housing with very few adaptations, there are others who need housing which has been designed and adapted significantly to fit individual need. We’ve looked at what Care Housing Association is doing to meet the needs of this latter group of people.

Nationally, the availability of appropriate housing for people with learning disabilities and autism falls abysmally short of what is required, leaving people in highly inappropriate accommodation or in hospitals for far longer than they should be which can cause them significant harm. The situation is widely recognised to have reached a critical level.

The Learning Disability and Autism Housing Network was established in 2019 when a number of housing associations came together to respond to the real opportunities and potential threats to the sector. It has now grown into a coalition of twelve housing associations (including Care) who all want to support the provision, development and promotion of quality homes and housing services for people with a learning disability and autism.

The Learning Disability and Autism Housing Network Charter, launched in March 2021, sets out 4 key actions to address the barriers for new, sustainable, quality housing for people with a learning disability and/or autism. This charter is aimed at providing long-term positive benefits for these people and delivering value for money for social care and health commissioners.

The four calls to action are:

  • Government to create a more comprehensive and integrated national and local planning and policy framework for supported housing, designed to ensure that supported housing receives an appropriate share of available resources and, in particular, that local commissioners have access to the tools and information required to address growing needs.
  • Government to create the conditions for growth of supply by allocating a higher proportion of the new affordable homes programme to new housing for people with learning disabilities and autism.
  • A rent standard that supports the commissioning and funding of new supported housing for people with high support needs.
  • A long-term sustainable, consistent housing benefit regime for supported housing.

We passionately believe that now, more than ever, there is a key role for housing associations in meeting the increasing demand for supported housing in this sector. The network is committed to raising awareness of housing need and evidencing the positive impact and value for money of quality housing and housing services. We also want to influence national policy change by creating a coherent collective voice for housing people with a learning disability and autism.

Care is very proud to be a founding member of the Learning Disabilities and Autism Housing Network, who’s aim is to progress the housing needs of those not currently being adequately met by the existing systems.

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