The publication of a Housing Ombudsman Spotlight report might cause a few shivers around the sector these days, but for WHG there was little cause for trepidation.
Earlier this week, the ombudsman published Relationship of Equals – together with a sobering call for a Royal Commission to address fundamental issues in social housing.
WHG has welcomed the report; hardly surprising, no doubt, as it as one of the organisations singled out for getting things right, as opposed to getting things wrong. The Walsall-based housing provider was praised for its work to tackle social injustice.
The report highlights the organisation for its effective relationship and integrated partnership with health. In a best practice case study, the watchdog explains how WHG has aligned itself with healthcare to tackle the widening gap in health equity.
The ombudsman also applauds WHG’s social prescribing service, which is providing practical and emotional support to people who are often over-reliant on health services for non-medical issues.
“Of the residents who were supported, over 90% showed a positive change in mental well-being,” the report says.
Fay Shanahan, WHG’s corporate director of operations and IT, said: “We welcome the Spotlight report’s focus on how general needs housing does not mean ‘no needs’. Operating in one of the most deprived areas of the country, where people suffer poorer health outcomes and, in some cases, have a shorter healthy life expectancy than other areas in England, this is something we are all too aware of.
“Four years ago we made a commitment to ‘promote health and prosperity where we can make a difference’. As one part of the community jigsaw of partners, we knew we could not do this alone. In order to effect change, and tackle the social inequities of health, we had to work together at system level.
“Thanks to our partnership with health we are now providing a range of programmes which recognise the vulnerabilities of our customers, and targets services where they are needed most in a way that meets changing and often complex needs.
“We are really proud of our innovative and sector-leading approach and delighted to be highlighted in the latest report by the Housing Ombudsman.”
WHG began working with health partners in 2019 when the Integrated Care Partnership Board, Walsall Together was established with the aim of tackling the widening gap in health equity.
The partnership consists of Walsall Healthcare Trust, community organisations, Walsall Council, and WHG. Since then the housing provider’s work with health has expanded, and the landlord now has a range of health-funded programmes it says are serving the needs of some of the most disadvantaged in society.
Image: Dragana Gordic / Shutterstock
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