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The homelessness crisis, the surge of domestic violence, and a weakening social care sector are all systemic challenges in the UK. They are at odds with a progressive society – which should be judged on how it supports its most vulnerable members. At the same time, we all know these are complex problems and it is widely understood that urgent collaboration and innovative solutions are required to ignite sustainable solutions.
We must remember that the right to adequate housing is included in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The place you call home is understood as having a tremendous impact on your life and is essential for human dignity and physical and mental well-being. Rosalyn Carter, the American writer, activist and First Lady of the United States as the wife of Jimmy Carter, once said “There is nothing more important than a good, safe and secure home” – a claim that will surely strike a chord for many after a year largely spent indoors.
The Challenge in the UK
Today many of the most vulnerable in the UK with learning and physical disabilities are housed away from friends, family, and local communities in institutional care settings, like long-stay hospitals and care homes. These settings deprive people of the independence that they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives. How did we get here?
Over the last two decades, the social care sector has creaked under the weight of growing demand, funding shortfalls, and a lack of supply of modern, adapted accommodation across the country. Despite consensus across the political spectrum, the NHS and independent think-tanks that more specialised supported housing is required to provide better outcomes for people with physical and learning disabilities, a funding gap has grown, and a crisis is worsening.
Mencap, a leading charity specialising in helping people with learning disabilities, have estimated that demand for supported housing will increase by 35% by 2030, driven by a desire to give people the chance to live within the local community in accommodation adapted to their needs, which has a positive impact on their wellbeing.
Igniting a long-term sustainable solution
Several years ago, a group of experienced investment professionals at Triple Point recognised that the housing crisis could not be resolved by the public sector alone. By speaking to multiple stakeholders including social housing consultants and think tanks, they set out to design an innovative investment strategy, focused on delivering positive change.
In 2017, Triple Point Social Housing REIT was launched with a mission to invest in sustainable high-quality homes which are adapted for vulnerable adults with long-term care and support needs including mental health issues, learning disabilities, or physical and sensory impairment. The goal was to improve the wellbeing of people while saving the government money and generating resilient rental income for investors.
Triple Point now provides accommodation for over 3,000 people in high quality housing, giving them the opportunity to live a fulfilling and independent life within their communities. We continue to believe residents deserve a home that offers greater independence than institutional accommodation, at the same time as meeting their specialist care needs.
The housing that Triple Point provides is designed in tandem with local health commissioners to accommodate people moving out of family environments or institutional care facilities such as hospitals and care homes. Commissioners like these homes because research shows they improve resident wellbeing.
Take Lee Rowley, who moved into a adapted spacious apartment in Cornmill House in the Seacroft area of Leeds shortly after it opened in February 2017. His apartment accommodates his power-assisted wheelchair and is near local amenities such as shops and transport links. Crucially, it also ensured Lee remained near Elland Road so that he can continue to go and see his beloved Leeds United play. Find out more about Lee’s story here.
Social impact milestones
At the end of 2020, Triple Point joined 70 organisations (39 housing associations, and 31 lenders and investors) who committed to become early adopters of the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing. This industry-led initiative will promote the adoption of high-quality standards for measuring, managing and reporting social and environmental outcomes in a transparent and consistent way for investors and other stakeholders.
In recognition of the impact of its team, stakeholders and strategy, Triple Point is delighted to have been awarded the Property Investor Award at the LaingBuisson Awards 2020 – an award that recognises excellence in property investment across healthcare.
These milestones give us momentum to achieve more in the months and years ahead. The goal continues to be guaranteeing secure futures for people in need across the country, while ensuring that our shareholders have an ethical, solid, long-term income source. Our ambition, alongside other managers in this space, is to collectively help drive improvements across the social housing sector through the implementation of higher standards of housing.
The Silver Linings competition is an opportunity to rethink how we value our older generations and their care and find sustainable routes to invest via collaborative ideas that deliver for all. We are delighted to partner with the Silver Linings Competition – a competition focused on tackling an urgent societal challenge by finding investible and implementable sustainable solutions to transform care for older generations.
This article was written by Triple Point’s Hal Briggs.