When it comes to care and support in the housing association sector, innovation can be everything. Housing associations know what they’re good at and tend to stick with what they know, making it difficult to constantly innovate. However, this isn’t always the best approach, especially when you consider that the cost of keeping people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been steadily rising over time while other options are becoming more readily available at a cheaper price point. Here are four ways that housing associations can help their residents by innovating with care and support services in order to meet changing industry trends and needs.
1) Treat tenants like owners
One of the ways housing associations can innovate in care and support is to treat tenants like owners. By doing so, it creates a sense of responsibility for the property. This could be done by giving them more control over their living space or increasing visibility into how they spend their money. For example, one approach would involve managing funds from the tenant’s income via a digital wallet. Another would entail allowing tenants to pay rent with debit cards, which would enable them to see exactly where their funds are going. Giving residents agency in these matters allows them to take on greater responsibility for their own well-being and reduces pressure on frontline staff members who are trying to provide care services at the same time.
2) Keep up with technology
Using technology to innovate care and support services can help housing associations meet the needs of today's tenants. Here are four ways that housing associations can innovate with new technologies:
Using a digital solution where residential care is shared and used globally. Storiicare has a user-friendly care management system to help senior care providers spend more time with patients and less time tracking down much-needed information. This care management solution is comprehensive, allowing care providers to digitize their entire paper-based system.
3) Create transparent communities
One way that housing associations can innovate is by creating a more transparent community for residents. This may be as simple as providing a list of all the amenities available to residents on the association's website, or it could be more complex like putting together an event where all neighbors get to meet one another. There are many ways to create transparency, but each idea should take into account the specific needs of the community at hand. For example, there may be some people who have disabilities or other health conditions that would not allow them to attend the event mentioned above. In this instance, make sure to provide multiple avenues for communication so that people with various limitations can still feel included. By including everyone in conversations around new ideas, you will create a sense of ownership among residents which will increase their sense of belonging and engagement with the larger community
4) Get over the idea of ‘management’
Housing associations are often focused on the management side of things, but this doesn’t mean they can’t innovate. Just because they are typically responsible for managing the property and tenants, it doesn’t mean that they can't be innovative. They should focus their efforts on supporting staff to develop new ways of providing care and support. They should also look at the challenges their residents are facing, such as loneliness or isolation, to determine what type of innovation would best suit them. Finally, housing associations should foster a culture where staff feel free to experiment with new ideas without fear of criticism or being penalized if they don't work out.