Seagate Project: Supported Accommodation – A key to the future
This practice example is one in a series illustrating how initiatives and ways of working in housing, housing support and homelessness services have significant positive impact on the health and wellbeing of those people being supported and, in so doing, contribute towards the nine national health and wellbeing outcomes for Integration.
Transform Community Development provides a wide range of services in the Dundee area, with the core being the provision of 70 beds in the city. The organisation has three projects, Jessie Devlin Close which consists of 33 direct access beds, Brewery Lane which provides resettlement accommodation for 22 people and the Seagate Project, which offers tenancies and secure occupancies to 15 individuals who have suffered from severe and enduring mental health issues.
This practice example is based on Larry who is currently living at the Seagate Project.
What was the issue you were addressing or working on?
Larry’s life had been a succession of admissions to mental health establishments all over the country. As these admissions became longer and more regular it was agreed that he would benefit from living in supported accommodation within the community. The Seagate Project was identified as an appropriate place, as it allowed Larry to be near his family in Dundee.
There were a range of issues that, in discussion with Larry, we chose to address. These were:
- Mental health
- Safety from harassment and abuse
- Money matters and personal administration
Larry did not feel that he had an issue with his budgeting, but after further discussions he agreed that he would like to have “money left at the end of the week”.
What you did?
Larry moved into the Seagate Project, this was the first time in 20 plus years that he had taken a tenancy. The housing support that is provided around the clock gives Larry reassurance that he can get support if required. Support ‘on hand’ has not been available to Larry in previous accommodation. Using Better Futures has allowed Larry to monitor his progress and become more active in his support. He has found it useful to see his support mapped out in a pictorial manner. With respect to monitoring and supporting his severe and enduring mental health issues, using Better Futures has allowed Larry and staff to better identify areas of concern, which means that additional support from his CPN can be sought quickly.
What were the outcomes – benefits or otherwise?
For the first time in years Larry feels that he can become an active member of his community, he feels secure in his home, free from the threat of eviction and short-term leases. The support that he receives allows look beyond his housing and he is planning to look into volunteering at the local Cats Protection shelter.
The bigger picture
The Seagate has 15 service users who have also progressed in their ability to deal with the consequences of severe and enduring mental health issues on daily living. Better Futures was used to examine the Seagate Project’s impact on this service user group and give an aggregated report of distance travelled in the relation to all of the individual’s mental health. All reviews carried out over each month for a period from April to November 2014 were averaged and aggregated. The scoring in each case was conducted by the key support worker along with the person being supported.
This shows that the support given within the Seagate Project in relation to mental health has helped Larry and the others to move from a situation where their mental health was causing concern (to the degree where people consider themselves “high risk”), to a situation where, with support, they are addressing and coping better with these issues.
Obviously someone could move in tomorrow with very high support needs in relation to mental health and possibly have an effect on that of others around them and, therefore, skew this graph. For this reason aggregated information has to be looked carefully and in context. This notwithstanding, the impact, over time, of housing support with individuals and the group as a whole is rewarding to see.
Some evidence of the positive impact of the service on health and wellbeing outcomes is in the reduction of hospital admissions for the 15 people living in Seagate. An irrefutable cause and effect link between support and reduced admissions cannot be proved. Nevertheless, when Transform Community Development looked at the pattern of historical admissions, it became clear that there is a marked drop in the number and duration of acute admissions to mental health units when measured over the period that they received support in the project. Security of tenure and support are believed to be the critical factors. In this context, support is particularly important where it enables individuals like Larry to connect to other agencies more readily before crisis point is reached and an admission becomes necessary.
The correlation between the impact of housing support on Larry and all the national outcomes for health and wellbeing can be seen in the table below:
Contacts – To find out more
Transform Community Development – Bryan Smith, Operations Manager email@example.com – 01382 224966
Better Futures – Heather McCluskey, Information Officer firstname.lastname@example.org – 0131 475 2676
Accommodation is classed as direct access if they accept referrals from any agency working with single homeless people (or those threatened with homelessness), does not operate a waiting list, and can offer some vacancies within a week or sooner.
 Better Futures is a web-based outcomes monitoring system organised around five goals: Accommodation, Health, Safety and Security, Social and Economic Wellbeing and Employment. Within these goals sit 20 aspects of life that a person may need support with. This system enables an individual to define personal outcomes and measure ‘distance travelled’ towards or away from them.
 Gladwell, M. (2006). Million-Dollar Murray. [online] Gladwell.com. Available at: http://gladwell.com/million-dollar-murray/ [Accessed 11 Dec. 2014]