The economics of housing and health

The role of housing associations
Comments: 2
David Buck, Shilpa Ross, Merron Simpson
This report, based on work commissioned by the National Housing Federation from The King’s Fund and the New NHS Alliance, looks at the economic case for closer working between the housing and health sectors. The authors demonstrate how housing associations provide a wide range of services that produce health benefits, which can both reduce demand on the NHS and create social value.

The report concludes that there is no one piece of economic analysis that will persuade health providers or commissioners to work with or commission housing associations. However, the case studies in the report illustrate the economic benefits that housing association can provide through:

  • providing safe, decent homes that enhance wellbeing. This has health impacts that are valued, and can save the NHS money
  • alleviating the overall cost burden of illness and treatment
  • helping to offset and reduce costs of delivering health care to individuals
  • demonstrating cost-effectiveness in helping to meet the objectives of the NHS and of improving health more broadly
  • demonstrating the cost–benefits of their interventions in terms of the value of improvements to people’s health and savings to the NHS.
The economics of housing and health - The role of housing associations | by David Buck, Shilpa Ross, Merron Simpson

No. of pages: 40

The report is one of a set of three commissioned by the National Housing Federation; the second report focuses on how housing associations can develop a business case that will be better understood by the health sector and the third explores how the health and housing sectors differ in their approach, language and terminology, roles, and use of evidence.

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Comments

#548227 Paul Smith
Director
Foundations

I hope the reports also encourage housing associations to maintain or increase the type of services discussed. At the very time when the health service needs them most, many housing associations are cutting such services as they chase better 'value for money'

#548247 Tim Nicol
Chairman
Lincolnshire Home Independence Agency

A very useful collation of the case for better housing and its impact on health. The story does not necessarily start and end with Housing Associations however. Home Improvement Agencies (such as Revival in Staffordshire, quoted in the report, and my own organisation, LHIA) have a massive role to play in keeping people out of hospital and institutional care and getting them home quickly if they have to be admitted. Paybacks for simple and not so simple adaptations, are excellent. Getting bed blockers home by fixing minor works and physically transporting them where family and friends are unwilling or incapable of doing so is common sense use of public money.
The trouble is, in most cases the Local Authority or private householder carries the cost and the NHS gets the benefit. This report shows how public money could be better diverted to HIAs to reduce demand on the NHS.

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