Mansfield District Council has introduced a service to support people who could be at risk of serious ill health or losing their home due to poor housing conditions.
The new Mansfield Healthy Homes Hub is part of the council’s homelessness prevention strategy and aims to support the most vulnerable residents in society to live in safe accommodation. The assistance is available to owner occupiers, privately renting tenants and social housing tenants.
A team of four council officers from the council’s Housing team will be looking into the housing conditions of referrals from agencies such as the NHS, GPs, community nurses, the ambulance service and social services. The aim of the service is to ensure that someone’s home environment does not have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing.
They will focus on ensuring homes are safe and warm as well as ensuring that vulnerable residents are helped to gain access to any specialist services they may need for complex health needs. There may be grants available to help with the cost of work required to improve a property.
As well as looking at home conditions, the project will also signpost residents to wider help and support around affordable warmth, debt, benefits, domestic abuse, mental health, falls prevention, loneliness and isolation.
The team can also link residents with local community groups and activities including food clubs, employment and skills support providers.
Cllr Marion Bradshaw, Portfolio Holder for Safer Communities, Housing and Wellbeing, said: “It is hard to believe that in this day and age we have severely vulnerable people living in our community without, for instance, running water or electricity. But we do - and it is much more common than many people may realise.
“Some people live in houses that may severely affect their health and safety. They may have complex needs which in turn leads to housing problems and, ultimately, health problems – sometimes even premature death.
“These are people who could easily be living next door to us or in the same street but who nobody seems to have noticed - until they need emergency action.
“With the right help and support, though, and with timely intervention, their lives could be turned around and they could be helped to live happier and safer lives in their own homes through support and access to services that are available locally – and before they end up as an admission to the local hospital.
"Keep an eye out for your neighbours. We know people have bags of community spirit because it came to the fore during the pandemic. It would be great to try to keep that neighbourliness going into the future.”
The council is engaging with its partners in health, social care and the voluntary sector to raise awareness of the hub and how it can help local residents.
Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Acting Chief Operating Officer Maggie McManus said: “We know that within our communities there are people who are likely to need our care and support, with many factors such as housing and their home environments affecting their physical and mental health.
"The Healthy Homes Hub is an opportunity for us to come together with our other health and social care partners to provide better all-round support and help people lead healthier, happier lives.
Dr Milind Tadpatrikar, a Mansfield GP and Primary Care Strategy Lead for Mansfield and Ashfield CCG, welcomed the council project, saying: "A true measure of a society is how it looks after the vulnerable and disadvantaged. Food, water, shelter and clothing are basic human needs. Let’s all support the Mansfield Healthy Homes Hub Initiative to reach that goal."