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  • Writer's pictureBME National

Govt Taskforce Visits BME Housing Schemes

The visit of the Government's Older Person Taskforce to Agudas Israel and North London Muslim Housing Associations this month, 2024, marked a significant step towards understanding and addressing the housing needs of older citizens, particularly from faith and minority communities. This visit, organised by Abdul Ravat of the Abbeyfield Society and Chair of the National Housing Federation’s Older Person Housing Group, provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities in providing housing, care, and support for elderly people.

 

The Taskforce, established in May 2023 by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, aims to explore the current and future landscape of older people's housing in England. With nearly 11 million people aged 65 and over in the UK, and projections indicating a significant increase in this demographic over the next decade, the need for tailored housing solutions is more pressing than ever.

 

The visit to Agudas Israel Housing Association (AIHA) and North London Muslim Housing Association (NLM) shed light on the innovative approaches taken by these organizations to meet the needs of their respective communities. AIHA specializes in serving the Orthodox Jewish community, while NLM focuses on providing housing solutions for Muslims and other minority groups. The collaboration between these associations exemplifies the spirit of cooperation and mutual support in addressing common challenges.

 

During the visit, Taskforce Chair, Professor Julienne Meyer, and other members engaged with residents and staff, gaining first-hand insights into their experiences and aspirations. The residents shared stories of life in their respective homes, highlighting the importance of culturally sensitive care and support services. They emphasised the need for ‘trusted people’ who understand their religious and cultural backgrounds and ‘trusted places’ where they feel respected and supported.

 

Both AIHA and NLM emphasized the importance of staff training to ensure that services are delivered with sensitivity and respect. They also called for a systematic approach to addressing barriers that may prevent minority communities from accessing appropriate support. This includes advocating for diverse and inclusive housing options and challenging mainstream providers to reflect the diversity of their service offerings.

 

BME National has over recent months emphasised the need for suitable housing for older people from diverse backgrounds in its dealings with the Taskforce. We firmly believe that the Taskforce's final report, scheduled for submission in the summer of 2024, presents an opportunity to influence policy and funding decisions that will shape the future of elderly care in the UK. By recognising the unique needs of faith and minority communities and fostering collaboration between stakeholders, we can ensure that every older person has access to safe, affordable, and culturally sensitive housing options.

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