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Municipalities to improve housing services for mentally handicapped

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 3.12.2004 7.50
Press release -

Municipal housing services for mentally handicapped people vary in terms of quality both from one local authority to another and within single municipalities. In 2003, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health published quality recommendations on these services for use by municipalities.

Mandated by the ministry, a number of national organisations for people with mental disabilities have now assessed the state of municipal housing services in a project designed to raise standards and involve users in mapping housing needs.

In doing so they describe the wishes of people with mental disabilities and their families concerning housing needs, identify new practices and have reformulated the quality recommendations in clearer terms. For the most part, current practices fail to meet the standards set by the recommendations.

Though over the last decade increasingly more mentally handicapped people have moved from institutional care to service housing, participation in community life for many remains remote.

One reason is the lack of enough professional support services and personnel to ensure greater equality or participation in community life.

Mentally disabled people and their families also find that the quality of housing provided for them is generally substandard. The organisations affirm the need for the users to take part in theplanning of service housing.

The project has so far had a good response in efforts to improve the quality of service housing by municipalities. It has also resulted in a pilot scheme of self-evaluation models being used five local authorities.

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