Housing provider meets with local MP to discuss the role of supported housing

Raven recently welcomed Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate, to Portland House in Merstham to discuss the role supported housing plays in enabling residents to thrive independently. 

In conjunction with the National Housing Federation’s Starts at Home Day, Mr Blunt attended a coffee morning with Raven’s customers and colleagues to learn more about the type of support available at schemes like Portland House.

Across its supported living schemes, Raven is committed to making age a positive experience and to treating people as individuals. 

Amy Cheswick, director of customers and partners, commented: “We were delighted to be able to meet with Mr Blunt and talk about the positive impact supported housing has on thousands of people’s lives.

“A core focus of our work in supported housing schemes is trying to change misconceptions, particularly about older people. To do this we’re listening to our customers, understanding their priorities and we’re tailoring services to meet different people’s needs. 

“Just because someone is over 60 it doesn't mean they want the same type of housing and services as others of a similar age. Support means different things to different people. The support we offer is very flexible, but rather than telling customers what they need, at Raven we listen to our customers and help them get what they need.”

During the visit, Jaime Neale, supported housing manager at Raven and Emily Ward, support coordinator at Portland House, discussed with Mr Blunt how support was provided to customers throughout the pandemic.

As well as increasing the number of calls colleagues made to residents to mitigate social isolation and boost well-being, Raven also partnered with local charities and organisations such as Merstham Hub to deliver essential food and medicines, as well as provide cooked meals. 

Mr Blunt said: “The last year has been exceptionally difficult for those living and working in supported housing. In conjunction with keeping people safe from COVID-19, housing providers like Raven have had to be creative with the approaches they take to mitigate social isolation and promote wellbeing. 

“I would like to say a big thank you to Portland House for inviting me to visit – it was fantastic to see for myself the important work that providers of supported housing do in our communities.”

Research published by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) Group in 2015 showed that inadequate housing was costing the NHS at least £1.4bn per year, a figure only likely to have increased as the effects of the housing crisis have deepened. 

Quality, sheltered housing like Raven’s Portland House can reduce hospital stays by supporting independence for older people, preventing hospital admissions and ensuring timely discharge.