Dr. Tammy Boyce - How Housing Affects Health
It’s easy to be a housing or care association – find a site, build the house, get tenants, then sit back and collect the monthly rent. Right?
Does your house simply function to ‘accommodate’ you? My own home makes me feel happy, safe, comfortable. My neighbourhood makes me feel the same. My house, my home isn’t simply there to provide a bed, a place to eat and somewhere to relax, it’s part of what makes me who I am.
Housing has a significant influence on my health – both mental and physical. Decades of research shows housing affects your health over the lifecourse, from children growing up in poor quality housing to older people living in loneliness in their final years.
We at Hafod know this:
* Housing affects mental health
* Housing affects physical health
* A strong sense of community can improve both physical and mental health
* We will live longer and have better lives in healthier homes and communities
Hafod is changing from a very good housing and care association into something else. Our Change Lab event is helping us find the solutions needed in Wales.
Working with Welsh government
The Welsh government wants to see ‘transformative change’ in health and social care and have created policies to encourage change;
- Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act
- Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015
- Public Health (Wales) Act,
- Active Travel Act
- Housing (Wales) Act 2014
The Welsh government have given the nation the tools but they cannot do everything. They need partners, such as Hafod, to build homes, communities, carers and neighbourhoods and create a more equitable, healthier and better Wales.
The world is watching Wales, waiting to see what will be implemented based on these policies. Hafod has taken the challenge set by Welsh government. We have created a new neighbourhood model and will work in partnership across sectors, integrating housing and care. We need to create new systems and work within the complex health, social and housing systems.
Something needs to change.
Despite the hard work of health and social care professionals we still have huge housing problems in Wales as well as severe poverty and high levels of child poverty. With uncertainties such as Brexit,
these problems may become worse. How can we make sure services are of high quality when the needs are so great? There are no easy answers, but at Hafod we are actively looking for solutions.
We need to radically rethink how we to change services. This isn’t about a new leaflet or logo, this is substantial change, about putting Hafod at the centre of neighbourhoods, working collaboratively.
We can’t, and shouldn’t, do this on our own.
We don’t know exactly what the new Hafod looks like but we know that we can’t do this on our own. Nor should we. Real and lasting change will happen when we work in partnership. We want to lead this change.
In 2018 we celebrate our 50th anniversary, what better time to reimagine Hafod as a world class organisation ‘Caring for the Future’. Our 1400+ staff members are here and ready for the challenge, and we look forward to working with you, please join us.