New housing strategy launches to open door to health and wellbeing

Published: Thursday, 9th November 2017

Sevenoaks District Council launched its new housing strategy on Friday 3 November, outlining a focus on improving health and wellbeing within the District.

The strategy, which will see a greater joining up of housing and health services, follows a District-wide consultation and includes ideas to improve the health and wellbeing of local residents and to tackle loneliness and social exclusion amongst older residents.

Sevenoaks District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Health, Cllr Michelle Lowe, says: “Our Housing Strategy is called: 'Wellbeing Starts at Home' because we believe that the home has a massive impact on our overall health and wellbeing. Our home is more than just a place to live. It’s where we sleep, where we raise our families, where we spend most of our time, so there’s many ideas to improve the quality of housing.

“But our housing strategy is different because it also focuses on the public health aspect of housing. By linking housing and health we can not only provide a better service to our residents, we can take a lot of pressure off the health service and social services by preventing hospital admissions and our rapid hospital discharge scheme prepares people’s homes for them while they are in hospital so they can be discharged as soon as they are clinically ready.”

The strategy was launched at the ‘Wellbeing Starts at Home’ Housing Forum at the Council’s offices, with the strategy aiming to give greater support to residents as they age by providing housing for older people to downsize to within their community and allow them to remain close to support networks.

The Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Fallon MP also helped launch the Council’s ‘Super-HERO’ service which helps people to live independently in their own homes, offering small home adaptations - from grab-rails through to stair-lifts - to more technologically-based devices such as remote health monitors. With a growing older population the strategy also looks to improve its support services for those living with dementia and their relatives and carers, as well as ideas to provide more housing support for vulnerable residents including those suffering from debt, mental ill health or domestic abuse.

The strategy also aims to provide a range of more affordable and appealing housing solutions for residents aged 25 to 44 in a bid to retain more economically-active people in the District and to keep families and communities together. One approach is to deliver micro-homes which are small modular apartments and can typically be cheaper than traditional housing.