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Outcomes for People with Learning Disabilities: Opportunities and Challenges for Housing

New SCLD Report on Housing for People with Learning Disabilities is released

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A new report, entitled Improving Outcomes for People with Learning Disabilities: Opportunities and Challenges for Housing, has been released. The research was commissioned by the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) on behalf of the Scottish Government and was compiled by the global research specialist, Ipsos MORI. Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt MSP, welcomed the new research at an event held in Edinburgh on 31 October.

Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt said:

“I am pleased to see the launch of this new research report on people with learning disabilities and housing. The Scottish Government is committed to improving the lives of people with learning disabilities through ‘The keys to life strategy’. This includes the right to appropriate housing.

“Good quality housing has an important role to play in helping us to deliver our vision for people with learning disabilities – that people with learning disabilities live healthier lives, can participate in all aspects of society, prosper as individuals and are valued contributors to a fair and equal Scotland.

“A house should be more than just bricks and mortar. It is the space in which we create memories, raise our families and a safe space where we can grow and develop. People with learning disabilities have no less right to these things than others, and this new report provides a useful framework for helping us to realise that right.”

The new research highlights the role housing can play in helping people with learning disabilities live longer healthier lives, participate fully in all aspects of society and prosper as individuals. However, it also finds that people with learning disabilities are not always empowered to understand their options or make informed choices about where they live, who they live with and the type of support they receive. While the report identifies a number of opportunities for change, including the devolution of supported housing funding and the role of housing within health and social care integration, it underlines challenges, too, including a lack of housing supply, difficulties accessing advice and funding limitations.

Chris Creegan, Chief Executive Officer of SCLD, said:

“Where people live can play a significant role in improving the lives of people with learning disabilities. It is the starting point from which people can engage and participate in their local community and wider society. Housing contributes to better health outcomes and getting it right has the potential to narrow inequalities. This research tells us that there is still much to do to ensure that positive outcomes are achieved for as many people with learning disabilities as possible.

“However, it also highlights many examples of good practice currently being carried out, and most importantly we want this report to be a platform for dialogue and action, and we will seek to engage with stakeholders across the housing sector on how we can make a positive difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities.”

The event that released the research featured a presentation by Rachel Ormston, Associate Director Ipsos MORI, on the key findings and recommendations from the report, and Ivan Cohen, a Director at advocacy organisation, People First shared his first hand experiences. There was also a panel debate with representatives from ARK Housing, Housing Options and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, where the discussion referred to the importance of local strategies being informed by the views of people with learning disabilities, the impact of planning and social security, and the role that housing plays in providing a sense of belonging.

SCLD now intends to initiate a national conversation on how to achieve better housing related outcomes for people with learning disabilities and bring a range of stakeholders together from across Scotland tasked with taking forward the report’s recommendations.

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