Well homes project going well

DOZEN of people have been put in touch with expert advice and support just seven weeks into Thurrock Council’s well homes project.

With the support of the well homes adviser, some 57 households have completed assessments of potential risks to their health or wellbeing posed by their homes. Such problems could include leaking roofs and inadequate heating.

In a 12 month pilot programme the adviser is visiting privately owned or rented homes in selected parts of three wards: Tilbury Riverside and Thurrock Park, Grays Riverside and West Thurrock and South Stifford.

However, the adviser and assessment also cover a much wider range of factors that could prove an obstacle to a healthy and happy life. These include lack of exercise, smoking and issues around debt or unemployment.

By the middle of July the adviser had made 127 referrals to other services for support or advice, including:

23 to energy advice services
26 to Essex fire and rescue service
29 to health and lifestyle services
33 to Thurrock Council services such as social care and domestic abuse.
The adviser has also referred 11 private sector tenants to the council’s private housing service to raise issues with landlords. Another 14 are now talking to the same service about possible access to ‘well homes’ offers such as security measures and gas and electrical safety checks.

The most frequent causes for concern identified were damp and mould, inadequate heating and unsafe electrics.

The council’s housing department and public health teams are working together on the project, reflecting the growing recognition of the role housing plays in our health.

Housing portfolio holder Cllr Lynn Worrall said: “Things as basic as leaks or draughts can have a big impact on our health. Obviously we should also look out for things like fall hazards or unsafe electrics. It is thought that every year hundreds of thousands of people, particularly older people, have housing-related health problems that are unpleasant or painful for them and costly to the NHS.

“I’m pleased that the methods we are testing out to reduce the impact of poor housing on our health are already producing real results for local people.”

The adviser’s work has also helped identify seven properties that have been vacant for some time. The council’s empty properties team will follow these up so they can provide desperately-needed housing.

The council will evaluate the results of the pilot but it hopes to extend the project across the borough.

To find out if you are eligible for a free well home check, for more information or to ask the adviser to visit your home please call the well homes team on 01277 239909, email wellhomes@papworth.org.uk or visit the council’s website at www.thurrock.gov.uk/wellhomes

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