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Reeta Ram: Providing Supported Living That Helps People to Gain More Control Over Their Lives

Everyone deserves a home to feel proud of. But our supported living isn’t just about modern, homely surroundings. It’s about providing support that fits seamlessly around you, with uniquely rewarding relationships that will help to build your confidence and independence.

We provide supported living that helps people to gain more control over their lives, encouraging them to be confident and happy to make their own choices and decisions – in a nutshell, more independent to live their best lives.

DPR Housing is a small-sized provider that is attentive to tenants with high and complex needs. This is possible because smaller organisations operate differently from large organisations.

Tell us about yourself?

I am Reeta Ram, Managing Director. In 1999, I qualified as a solicitor and worked for 6 years in personal care including health and safety litigation. I also worked for two years in commercial litigation and corporate law in house at Aviva PLC working for the Director of Tax including Board support. I managed a large government contract for deploying around 100 CQC’s Experts by Experience to some 3000 Care Quality Commission’s inspections in Mental Health, Substance Misuse, Learning Disability and Dementia care homes, hospitals and supported living also, responsible for quality control. I have a stong sense of professional duty towards tenants including their human rights.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

It takes a couple of years to develop a good, safe pair of hands and a good value reputation amongst referring clients – it is essential to identify what each local authority team would like and provide accordingly. Safety is the priority, followed by tenants’ levels of overall satisfaction and clear success towards steps of independence living in the community.

What problem does your business solve?

Housing vulnerable people, in the community to live their best lives. They do not need personal care (washing, bathing etc) and do not wish to live in an institutionalised care home. They instead need 24 hour support for other needs eg, eating hot meals, hygiene, structure and 24 hour support available to discuss issues with plus support to attend appointments and all paperwork.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Housing vulnerable people, in the community to live their best lives. They do not need personal care (washing, bathing etc) and do not wish to live in an institutionalised care home. They instead need 24 hour support for other needs eg, eating hot meals, hygiene, structure and 24 hour support available to discuss issues with plus support to attend appointments and all paperwork.

What is your magic sauce?

Attentiveness to tenants so they live the magic. Training in support to motivate and inspire staff. Super organised managers following structured, person centered ticklists – not a one size fits all approach. Close manager’s monitoring of staff to ensure peoples rights are followed and safety is paramount. High level staff observations as well as verbal feedback to continuously improve provision.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We are opening a second scheme. We plan to grow and make this harmonious housing available to more tenants as well as cost effective and high quality to local authorities. Our model is definitely unique.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

We are not CQC registered as we do not provide personal care. CQC may wish to provide encouragement to this growing area of supported living. At present large organisations dominate the market and they run like care homes unfortunately, an old fashioned and inattentive approach.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

Tenants visit. They discuss their needs deeply with their social workers and then a placement contract is agreed with the refereeing local authority. Tenants are traumatised by living in other supported housing which failed and so we are aware of what the person does not like and can offer solutions to those issues immediately changing their quality of living. We reassure and remind them, regularly they have full mental capacity to make all own choices and decisions – thus alleviating some of their anxieties.

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