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HSA Launched

Housing Options and the Association for Supported Living merge to form a new learning disabilities membership organisation bringing together commissioners, housing and care providers, carers and advocacy organisations.

Housing Options (HO), a housing advisory service, and the Association For Supported Living (ASL), an organisation dedicated to improving supported living services, are merging to form a new charity, the Housing and Support Alliance. The merger creates a diverse learning disability membership organisation, bringing together commissioners, housing and care providers, carers and advocacy organisations with combined budgets of £3 billion, representing over 75,000 thousand people with learning disabilities.

The Housing and Support Alliance acknowledges that there has been much good work in recent years to improve housing and support for people with learning disabilities. However, there are still far too many people who cannot choose where they live and how they are supported. There is a need for a new, collaborative approach, which includes people with learning disabilities, families, housing and support providers and commissioners, to bring about the radical changes needed.

THE HOUSING AND SUPPORT ALLIANCE WILL:

• offer free independent advice, information and resources on housing, supported living and rights

• campaign for better housing, support and rights for people with learning disabilities

• host conferences and events

• offer training and consultancy services

• commission and conduct research

• identify and assimilate good practice.

Karyn Kirkpatrick (HO chair) says: “Our two organisations have a long history of collaborative working and we share the same values. We believe that by joining together we can create something that is more than the sum of its parts. The memberships of both the ASL and HO increased in the last 12 months and both organisations are in a reasonable financial position independently, so there is not a financial imperative for the merger. That said, it will result in a more efficient use of resources.”

Kim Foo (ASL chair) says: “By merging we’re forming a substantial and diverse membership-based learning disabilities organisation. Almost every big service provider in the country is already a member, alongside many local authority commissioners and advocacy organisations. That gives us a powerful lobbying voice, and we’ll be able to extend our services, including the free help and advice line, to a much wider group.”

MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS INCLUDE:

• free places at conferences

• access to expert support from specialist advisors by email and telephone

• access to a members only website with factsheets, resources and technical briefings

• monthly bulletins and briefings

• 10% discount on training, consultancy and publications

• onsite support and Chief Executive round table events.

The Housing and Support Alliance will formally launch at the Working Together conference on 22 November 2012 at the Manchester Conference Centre. A board of up to 15 non-executive directors and a chairperson will lead the new charity, employing 1.5 staff supported by a group of expert associates.

Alicia Wood, who will manage the Housing and Support Alliance, says: “It is exciting to be involved with an organisation that really makes a difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families. We are able to do this with the support of our members and the funding they provide through membership fees. We are keeping central costs very low, so most of our resources go directly into providing information, advice and support to those who need it most, rather than funding overheads.”

Kirkpatrick concludes: “Together we are stronger. We can make a real difference in these tough times.”

For further information please contact:

Alicia Wood

020 7993 8361

alicia.wood@housingoptions.org.uk

www.housingandsupport.org.uk