Posted by: Alex Wellman27/10/2011
The Scottish Government has been accused of short-sightedness this week by a housing body.
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has argued that a cut in the budget for housing adaptations may create short-term savings but these will be offset by costs incurred in the future.
It’s argument, and it is hard not to agree, is that any initial cost on adapting people’s homes to fit their needs, will be recouped in the coming months and years as that person remains an active part of the community.
By not putting money toward supporting more adaptations, the SFHA argues that more people will be pushed into care homes, need more hospital care and generally become increasingly costly as an individual.
Family Intervention Projects have much the same effect – an initial fairly expensive outlay resulting in long-term savings.
Just this week Ian Munro, chief executive of New Charter Housing Group, told Inside Housing that he estimates that FIPs done by his team have saved the taxpayer £3m.
The adaptation argument seems sound to me and of course is relevant for the rest of the UK – not just Scotland.
This is why it seems quite remarkable that councils, housing associations and contractors do not promote this issue more.
True, it is hardly a ‘boom’ part of the repairs and maintenance sector that will bring in fortunes for contractors, but it is a part which can be argued strongly for increased attention.
There does not appear to be a fixed value on what savings adaptations can provide and perhaps this is part of the problem.
And with the current scramble to ‘cure’ problem families in the wake of the English riots, perhaps the financial benefits of adaptations have taken a backseat.
However, if there is a route available that can provide a better home life for tenants, keep people working and save money in the long run, why on earth are we not shouting from the rooftops about it?
From Can we fix it?
Alex Wellman takes a look at what’s going on in the social housing contracting sector