A new Hawke’s Bay initiative is helping people with mental health issues find a rented home without having to spend months on a waiting list.
Under the Friendly Landlord Housing Initiative tenants receive a rent subsidy to help them meet the cost of private market rental. This guaranteed rent, as well as an assurance that tenants will have the support of local mental health services, encourages landlords to join the scheme.
The programme has resulted in an improved quality of life for clients who experience fewer bouts of illness leading to a reduced use of clinical mental health services, particularly acute services.
Someone with a mental health problem can find it difficult to find an affordable, good quality home to rent. Both Housing NZ and councils have long waiting lists, often for homes in undesirable areas which are ill-equipped to meet mental health consumers’ needs or help their recovery.
Regular reviews allow support levels to alter as needs change. This ensures the person is supported, not only in independent living, but also in reaching their goals.
Since March 2006, the project has met its targets, providing 20 to 30 accommodation placements for tenants who are high users of mental health services. Rent subsidies have remained well within the budget of $80,000 per year.
The Friendly Landlord Initiative is one of five Hawke’s Bay finalists in the 2007 New Zealand Health Innovation Awards (HIA). It will be competing against 21 other finalists.
The HIA, a joint endeavour of the Ministry of Health and ACC, were started in 2003 and recognise individuals and organisations that have developed new and innovative approaches to delivering better health services.
This year’s HIA winners will be announced at the HIA expo and gala dinner held on 10 October at the Wellington Town Hall.
Further information about the HIA is available online at http://www.healthinnovationawards.co.nz
Hawke’s Bay DHB
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