WLGA PRESS RELEASE - New guidance launched to help Housing professionals to support autistic people
A new guide has been launched today to help professionals working in housing to better understand the needs of autistic people in gaining access to housing services.
Autistic people have consistently identified challenges in seeking appropriate housing services help and support due to a lack of understanding of the condition and their individual needs. A Shelter Cymru report has similarly identified challenges including uncomfortable visits to busy office environments to access Housing Options services, and a lack of support to explain to autistic people the range of services available to them.
In response to this need, the National Autism Team has worked with a group of stakeholders including Housing professionals, professionals working in the field of autism and advisors, parents and carers of autistic people and the National Autistic Society Cymru, to produce a refreshed guide to better enable front-line professionals to work with autistic people in accessing Housing support and information.
Councillor Huw David (Bridgend), WLGA Spokesperson for Health and Social Care said:
“Autistic people have as much of a right as anyone else to access housing support, and they have consistently indicated that the support on offer to them could be improved. The National Autism Team has heard that feedback loud and clear and has worked with a range of valued partners and professionals to produce this excellent resource which will be available across public, private and third sectors.
“I am very pleased to see the launch of this guide which I hope will help Housing professionals to better understand autism, and to be better able to support their individual needs. I’m proud that this is another example of the Team truly listening to the needs of autistic people, and to respond in a collaborative and person-centred approach.”
Julie James, Minister for Housing and Local Government said:
“I welcome this updated guide which highlights the issues some people with autism face when applying for housing for the first time, or the obstacles they can encounter within their tenancies. The Guide builds on a ‘person-centred’ approach, putting individuals at the heart of the decision-making process, helping to identify issues early on to address possible conflict.
“What we need in Wales is good quality, stable housing. This is the foundation of thriving communities. The Guide and the principles it promotes will help us achieve these goals and I recommend its use to all housing practitioners.”
Tracey Cooper, Chief Executive of Public Health Wales said,
“Good quality housing is essential to the health and wellbeing of the population, and it is essential that people are appropriately supported and informed as they interface with housing services. I am delighted that this Guide, led by the National Autism Team, has been informed by professionals in the fields of autism and housing, which means that it will be a useful reference point to help front-line professionals to better support the needs of autistic service users. It is available in hard copy and online formats and I hope it will prove valuable to all housing professionals.”
Oliver Townsend, Policy and External Affairs Manager at Cymorth Cymru and Chair of the cross-sector writing group that co-produced the guide said:
“Autistic people are overrepresented in the rough sleeping population, which is evidence that the housing system needs to do more. We need to change our approach to supporting people with autism to access and maintain secure housing, ensuring that services are person centred and psychologically informed. It has been a privilege to chair this group of passionate and dedicated people, who have worked together to produce an excellent document full of practical tips and good practice examples. We encourage everyone working in this area to read this guide, consider how they can embed this approach and improve their response to autistic people with housing issues.”