How #StartsAtHome uses social media to put the spotlight on supported housing

Last Friday’s #StartsAtHome was a great example of charities banding together on social media to influence funding policy by showcasing the great work they do.

Chloe Green | 2nd Sep 19
Image credit: Muir Group Housing Accomodation

Last Friday was 2019’s Starts at Home Day – a day for housing associations up and down the UK to showcase the value of supported housing.

Started by the National Housing Federation – the member organisation for Housing Associations in the UK – housing associations were encouraged to share their positive and inspiring stories using the #Startsathome hashtag on Twitter and on the Starts at Home Day website.

The campaign was first launched in 2016 following news that the Government would be changing the way supported housing is funded. Although that policy was then shelved, a 2018 National Audit Office report found that nationwide, spending on support services has reduced by 69% since 2010. So the National Housing Federation continues to fight for the vital funding that the sector needs.

The social media campaign is aimed at collectively raising the profile of what supported housing does and encouraging people to engage with their local MPs.

The National Housing Federation said: “This year, to back our call for £1.4bn a year for a ring-fenced support fund, we will be focusing on the support that our members deliver to thousands of people in supported housing ever year. We hope to raise understanding of the invaluable and lifesaving work that support workers do, and the impact it has on residents of supported housing.”


Championing successes

Supported housing offers people a secure home with the the specialist services they need to live independently, recover from abuse or illness,  gain employment or education, and develop life and social skills. This can be in the form of sheltered housing, where people live independently in their own flat monitored by a warden or support staff, or in a group home with shared living spaces.

There are around 651,500 supported housing units across the country, costing around £4.12bn annually to run. Supported housing represents a lifeline for many of the most vulnerable people in society, including those who have been homeless, people fleeing domestic violence, war veterans and people with disabilities.

#StartsAtHome 2018 saw more than 2,600 tweets sent, generating a potential reach of 2.7m people. Following on from this success, The National Housing Federation said on its blog: “Lots of our members have been in touch to let us know that, due to the funding certainty we now have, they plan to develop new supported housing schemes.”

“We want to ensure that supported housing is fresh in the minds of MPs as they return to Parliament. And Starts at Home Day keeps growing, celebrating and advocating for supported housing and now, to persuade the Government to invest in the support people need to thrive.”

The organisation helps facilitate the campaign by providing a ‘get involved’ resources page for housing associations including clear and encouraging information on the campaign, Twitter banners and templates and a free campaign board available to order, making it easy and fun to take part.

This year, the National Housing Federation also put an emphasis on encouraging people to share stories of hardworking staff and why they’re proud of what they do. People have taken to Twitter to share their positive stories and showcase the impact that the sector has on thousands of lives.

We showcase a few of the the inspiring Tweets below.