28 July, 2022

Connecting the health and housing sectors over the last 12 months

HACT Health & Research Lead, Sarah Parsons reflects on her first year at HACT.

HACT Health & Research Lead, Sarah Parsons

It’s hard to believe that this week sees me celebrate my first anniversary of joining HACT, and what a year it has been! Whilst coming into a health-focused role, it was scary to be leaving behind the sector that I knew so well, having spent all my working life in health, to enter the world of housing. I recall saying at my interview that my only experience of housing, is that I live in one – yet still HACT employed me! How grateful I am.

One of the main things that I have learned is that despite my pre-conceptions, health and housing are not so different after all; not when you bring it down to the people. Both sectors function through an engine room of committed, dedicated and well-trained people. Both have their frustrations, their grievances, their jargon and their ‘red tape’.

But most strikingly, both are in it for the people. That individual at the centre of the job description, the corporate strategy, the policy, the KPIs. The patient and the resident. The waiting list for a hospital appointment; the waiting list for a house. The similarities go on and on. Indeed, so many more similarities than differences.

It is hard to look back over the last 2 years or so without seeing the heartache and suffering caused by the pandemic; we all have our own stories. Yet there are also many good things to come out of that time. What this last year as Health and Research Lead at HACT has shown me is that whilst differences do exist between the ‘functional bodies’ of health and housing, there is a massive appetite across the sectors to learn more about each other, learn more about how we can work together more effectively but most importantly, learn how we can best serve the individual at the centre of it all – together.

Sarah Parsons works with housing associations and health organisations and trusts across a variety of topics. Her role includes evaluation of social prescribing services, social value plans within the NHS and place-based research.

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To learn more about how to connect the health and housing sectors in your local communities, get in touch with Sarah

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