Troubled families: ‘each successful intervention saves taxpayer £120,000’
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
Every successful intervention to help a 'troubled family' saves the taxpayer £120,000 on average, it has been claimed.
Speaking at the National Housing Federation Conference in Birmingham, New Charter Housing Trust CEO, Ian Munro, said that the cycle of costs associated with dealing with troubled families, such as eviction costs, putting children into care, police work and social services, can be saved if interventions are dealt with properly.
New Charter's own scheme to help families, the Cornerstone Project, is centred around three pillars: Great Homes; Great Neighbourhoods; and Great People. Cornerstone is currently supporting 101 families, 90 of which are in social housing.
Mr Munro cited one case of an alcoholic mother who had been drinking since she was 12. There was daily anti-social behaviour from the family before New Charter stepped in and made sure the children were walked to and from school; that they had breakfast and dinner; and even that they were read bedtime stories.
As a consequence of the intervention, the mother is now dry and all the anti-social behaviour has stopped. Mr Munro claimed that the intervention in this case had saved the taxpayer £156,000.
Mr Munro gave another example of a typical "complicated family" the project had worked with: a drug addict mother, Carrie, who was a prolific offender, being arrested 12 times in 12 days for shoplifting. Carrie's mother, Tracey, had asked for help when Carrie was 15 and had started using drugs.
Despite repeated efforts by the mother to seek help, including referrals to social services, the situation remained unresolved.
Mr Munro pointed out the cycle ended with threats of eviction, thus the housing association hadn't helped the situation.
"We cannot carry on like this as a society, wasting all this money," he said. "If we can intervene and calm the situation down we can save money. But it means we need to all work together. It needs City Region support from Whitehall. The Government and the PM seem to get it, and Louise Casey is pushing the case. This is localism and the Big Society - whatever that is."
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