Fufilling Lives South East has collaborated with the University of Brighton to conduct research on how local authorities can effectively support people with multiple and complex needs during the housing assessment process. The work draws together interviews with Fulfilling Lives Workers and existing academic research to present a detailed list of recommendations for local authorities.
It is well-acknowledged that mainstream services often struggle to engage with people living in complex situations and people with multiple and complex needs often go without the help they need (McCarthy et al, 2020). At the forefront of the disadvantages experienced by people with multiple and complex needs is the difficulties they experience accessing appropriate housing. There are significantly reduced housing options for people with multiple and complex needs and they are increasingly difficult to access.
Throughout their work and research so far Fulfilling Lives South East found a significant knowledge gap on approaches to the housing assessment process and how it can best support people with multiple and complex needs. Most people with multiple and complex needs will be assessed by a local authority at some point to see if they are eligible for housing support. This assessment is a crucial step and often happens when a person is most in crisis and in need of shelter. The process can be frustrating, long winded and invasive, therefore this research sought to develop a better understanding of effective approaches to this pivotal process that demonstrates a positive impact on their lives.
The three themes identified in the research lead to this list of recommendations for local authorities in how their housing assessments can best support people with MCN:
- Follow a clear more concise assessment process, that doesn’t take too long to complete.
- Ensure that the assessment process follows a trauma informed approach. This means being understanding of the trauma applicants may have experienced and ensuring the process is not re-traumatizing
- Show compassion and kindness to the applicants.
- Maintain confidentiality throughout the assessment. This includes providing a safe and private environment to carry out the assessments in order for applicants to feel more comfortable sharing their situation and experiences.
- Take an interprofessional approach to the assessments, in which housing officers utilise the applicants existing support network. This could include working alongside the individual’s key worker who will know them well.
- Allow for flexibility in the application process, work creatively around the obstacles that may arise when assessing people with multiple and complex needs.
Read the full report: here.
Author: Izzie Bloxham-Shelley
If you would like to hear more about our work in housing, then please do get in contact with Rebecca in the Fulfilling Lives team:
Rebecca Rieley, Systems Change Lead: firstname.lastname@example.org