There is an ancient saying:
‘mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers; mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers; mountains are once again mountains and rivers again rivers.’
I can see the truth in this for the supported housing sector; as we see a seismic shift in welfare and supported housing policy, we struggle to see a future for supported housing. The old ways no longer fit. To be honest, many in the sector have been grappling with the reality of bloated costs and ‘sophisticated support systems’ leading to unsustainable rents and questionable outcomes. For many providers, they have exited the sector completely and I can see this tide continuing. However, for others, they are seeking to redefine supported housing in a way that hopes to avoid it being a monster that requires feeding, but allows for innovation, risk, creativity, and voluntary spirit.
We have an opportunity to redefine the sector, by embracing the reality, and return to values that we held as true in the past – freeing ourselves to do what we do best. Perhaps this way we can look forward to a better tomorrow for both providers and the people we serve.