riversideA tailored ‘menu’ approach to providing housing-based support for homeless people with mental health issues has been launched by a London housing association.

Riverside ECHG is piloting the scheme, which gives clients personalised budgets to improve their choices and opportunities, at its Parliament Hill service for people with mental health issues.

At Parliament Hill, clients are each given a weekly personal budget of £60 to spend on support, goods or services of their choice which help them on the road to recovery.

It allows them to help build their own flexible, tailored package of support to best meet their specific, individual needs and achieve their personal goals.

Break out of chronic isolation
This personal approach has already had a positive impact, helping people break out of chronic isolation and re-engage with society.

Riverside’s Regional Manager Antonius Meliat said: “Across London we have piloted a new support brokerage service which is already supporting three local authority contracts and where our specialist support brokers go out to clients to identify and put in place individuals’ support needs.

“We have also concluded a successful trial service working with clients to manage aspects of their own mental health budgets, with dramatic results. These are underpinned by our housing-based, specialist, award-winning mental health services across London.”

Budgets have been spent on things ranging from guitar lessons for clients to help them develop better self-esteem, to a specialist worker accompanying a client to a local café to help them break the social isolation they felt.

Tailored around specific needs
Linked in with this initiative, Riverside has also launched a Support Link Service which enables clients across Greater London to further personalise and tailor the support they receive.

The service involves a support broker visiting a person at their home or scheme and working with them to pinpoint exactly what support they would like, then organising that support which is tailored around their specific needs and interests.

Meliat added: “These new initiatives are based on the recognition that each person is the expert on their own recovery.

“Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we hope to be able to roll out these initiatives, where they would benefit individuals, across our other schemes and further afield.”