Press release

£300 million to create homes for independent living

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

From today, local authorities will be able to bid for part of a £300 million pot of money which will boost the supported housing market and help people grow old in their own homes, Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb has announced.

The £300 million cash injection will help create thousands of extra houses and flats specially designed for the needs of disabled and older people who need extra support. It could result in up to 9,000 new or modernised homes.

High quality, innovative housing of this kind will help people stay independent for longer by allowing them to receive care and practical help in their own home, reducing the need for them to go into care homes or hospitals.

From today local housing providers across the country will be able to bid for money to either build specially designed new homes, or to modernise existing specialised housing to bring it up to standard. This supported, or specialised, housing is designed to be accessible and aid independent living by having, for example:

  • very few or no stairs;
  • cupboards that are at a reachable height for wheelchair users;
  • adapted bathrooms that are easy to access for older or disabled people;
  • handrails, to reduce the chance of falls; and
  • their own individual front door.

In particular, the fund will be targeting specialised housing available for owner occupation or shared ownership.

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb said:

“Most people want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible, and as the population ages more and more of us will need housing that supports us.

“Our £300 million fund will help create thousands of homes, providing people with more choice and an alternative to residential care.”

Specially designed housing of this kind can give people the option to downsize from a larger home to a more manageable property designed for their needs.

In the first phase of the programme, bids will be invited from housing providers who have worked closely with a local authority and health colleagues to design affordable schemes that meet the needs of the local population.

The fund will be run in partnership with the Homes and Communities Agency  (HCA) and the Greater London Authority (for London-based schemes), who will be assessing and evaluating the bids. More detail on the programme and on how companies can bid for funding to help build these houses was published today on the Homes and Communities Agency website and GLA website

Better housing will not just benefit people who need support. A more suitable property for their family member will also alleviate pressure on the carer, as the person being cared for will be able to carry out everyday tasks themselves more easily.

As well as giving people more independence, specialised housing options can also save individuals some of the costs associated with residential care homes.

Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of the HCA said:

“The HCA is committed to creating opportunities for these groups in our communities, and we are pleased that the Department of Health has looked to the HCA to deliver such an important funding programme. This will enable us to apply the principles of linking good specialist housing design with health and quality of life while at the same time getting developers and Providers to develop new innovative ways of delivering good quality housing that addresses local need and demand.

“This Fund recognises the benefits which high quality housing opportunities for both older and disabled people can have in allowing them to remain independent for longer - raising their quality of life and helping reduce the burden on the health service. We are already delivering around 10% of our Affordable Homes Programme for supported housing and housing for older people, and the Fund is a good opportunity to build on this.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“Quality housing for older and disabled Londoners is in short supply and there is a pressing need to meet increasing demand. I am determined that this fund helps to deliver high quality homes that people want to live in and which reflect the diversity of their needs and aspirations. By allowing people to move to well designed, accessible homes, it will also help to give older and disabled Londoners renewed independence and dignity. I’d like to see some truly innovative proposals coming forward, ones which set new standards in design and that can provide a benchmark for how this type of housing should be delivered.”

From summer 2013 we will be inviting informal expressions of interest from private specialised housing providers as part of a second phase of the fund which will be launching in 2013 to stimulate the wider market.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1.For further information about the bidding process, please visit the Homes and Communities Website on: http://www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/ourwork/care-and-support-specialised-housing-fund.

2.For further press information, please contact the Department of Health on 020 7210 5435