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Letter: Please support Rethink Mental Illness’s campaign a ‘Place to Call Home'

Date published: 14 February 2017


Dear Editor,

I have been a Rethink Mental Illness campaigner for some years now and I am supporting Rethink Mental Illness’s campaign a 'Place to Call Home', calling for the Government to remove the threat of any blanket, one-size-fits-all cap to Housing Benefit for those living in supported housing.

One in five people affected by severe mental illness live in supported housing and the Governments plans to reform Housing Benefit puts this vital provision, and the mental health of tens of thousands of people, at risk.

In support of this campaign, Peter Aldous MP has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) expressing concerns regarding the Government’s proposal for a new ‘top-up’ funding model to replace lost Housing Benefit from 2019/20. There is concern about the fragility of a local fund and the impact it could have on the ability of housing providers to develop and maintain supported housing services. The EDM calls on the Government to ensure that vulnerable groups are protected by any future reforms. As EDM 833 describes: 'people living in supported housing face a number of challenges, including significant mental health problems, learning disability, physical disability, homelessness, addiction and fleeing domestic violence; further notes that this provision is vital to the realisation of ambitions set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, the Transforming Care Programme and the Homelessness Reduction Bill; expresses concern about the potential inadequacy of the proposed local top-up fund to replace housing benefit spend; further expresses concern about the impact that these proposals could have on the ability of housing providers to develop and maintain supported housing services.'

Could I please take this opportunity to ask concerned readers of Rochdale Online to contact their MP and urge them to support this EDM by signing it and help to ensure that a fair, robust and long-term housing deal is reached for those living with mental illness.

Those Members of Parliament who have already signed up to support this Early Day motion 833 can be found at:

https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/833

This can be done in a few moments at the Rethink Mental Illness campaign site at:

https://www.rethink.org/get-involved/campaigns/housing-campaign

Thank you.

Yours,

Andrew Wastling

The views expressed are those of the author of the letter and not those of Rochdale Online.

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