So why is it that vulnerable adults are being given substandard squalid accommodation to live in?
We shudder to call them 'homes'. That is stretching the bounds of any reasonable person’s imagination; but vulnerable adults, keen to strike out on their own and live independently, are being placed in accommodation that has mould on the walls, is badly maintained, and in many cases poses a health risk. Local authorities -- and in effect you and I -- are picking up the bill, which compounds the misery for society further.
The worst part of all is that there is nothing that anyone can do to stop the practice due to lack of regulation relating to supported living accommodation for vulnerable adults. The cruel irony of this is that if you are able-bodied, refusing to work and claiming housing benefit you have rights relating to the standard of your accommodation; however, it you are vulnerable, would like to work and make a contribution to society it would appear you have none.
Making this a critical issue is that it is government policy to support vulnerable adults in the community. For the last 20 years more than 120,000 people have transitioned into partially-supported care, where they live independently and receive support with shopping, cleaning or visits to their doctor. The Government has also pledged to move the remaining 3,250 people still in high-dependency units or hospitals into the community. Given most of them have round-the-clock supervision, it is imperative that they are placed in quality accommodation with complimentary care packages.
This scandal has recently come to light when one man, who had lived on his own for some time, went back to stay with his mum whilst his home was redecorated. Determined to be independent, he had previously refused to let her visit, preferring to speak daily on the phone and make his own way in life. She visited his flat to monitor the work and couldn’t believe what she saw.
She was appalled by the filth and dirt and disrepair to which that the flat had fallen, through no fault of her son’s. When she tried to get recourse, she was told that supported living is an unregulated service -- so effectively there was none.
Further investigation revealed that it is not just government-supported accommodation, but so are day care centres and other support services for vulnerable adults.
Not many private providers let vulnerable adults down like this; here at ubu quality is built into uStep. We compliment a high standard of living with dedicated care and support and a commitment to the people we serve that ubu are partners on their pathway to independence. Not only is uStep accommodation to a high standard, we pride ourselves on the quality of support and the outcomes achieved. The people we serve are everything to us. You can read more about ustep and supported independence here.
As the government works towards moving all vulnerable people out of hospital, there must be more care and attention to the standard of care and support they receive in the community. There is no point providing options when the choices are of poor quality.
Regulation is no guarantee. Winterbourne View proved that. But it does make unscrupulous providers think twice about the standard of care and accommodation they attempt to provide, and deter them if they won’t make the grade. After all you wouldn’t put a dog in a pit, why would you expect a human to live in one?
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