Policy

Providing housing support for older and vulnerable people

Supporting detail:

Helping older and disabled people live at home for longer

New deal for older people’s housing

In the housing strategy the government announced a new deal for older people’s housing.

We’ve given FirstStop over £2 million to provide a national independent housing, care and finance service for older people, their families and carers. FirstStop offers free, independent advice and aims to help older people make informed decisions about their housing, care and support options. It also aims to help older people maintain independent living in later life.

We have provided £51 million towards handypersons’ services.

We are extending support for Home Improvement Agencies, who will provide help and advice to older and disabled people, housing associations and charities, including:

  • housing advice, including help to move to more suitable accommodation if needed
  • small home repairs, home safety and security adaptations
  • energy efficiency advice
  • arranging for adaptations and home repairs to be made, including grab rails, stair-lifts and major work such as ground-floor extensions

These agencies also offer hospital discharge services – giving older people leaving hospital care the support they need to be able to recuperate in the comfort of their own homes.

Disabled Facilities Grant funding

We are providing £185 million to fund the Disabled Facilities Grant from 2014 to 2015. The grant helps older and disabled people adapt their homes so that they can live in them for longer.

The Disabled Facilities Grant is a mandatory entitlement administered by local housing authorities in England. It helps to fund the provision of home adaptations which help disabled people to live as comfortably and independently as possible in their own homes. These can include ramps, door-widening, stair-lifts and walk-in showers.

Lifetime neighbourhoods

We’re committed to helping older people live independently by promoting the development of ‘lifetime neighbourhoods’. These are places that are designed to be lived in by all people regardless of their age or disability.

The government commissioned the Centre for Housing Policy at York University to produce an independent research report on lifetime neighbourhoods. The report brings together existing writings, research and practice examples. The report discusses how, for example, ageing, design, housing, transport, participation and green spaces can be linked when creating lifetime neighbourhoods.

Disability strategy and Draft Care and Support Bill

In September 2012 the government published its disability strategy. The strategy includes a commitment to create a new capital fund, worth £200 million over 5 years from 2013, for specialist housing for older and disabled people.

We have also given new duties to local councils in the Draft Care and Support Bill to make sure that care and support is not interrupted before a person’s needs are reassessed. This should help more disabled people to move to the home of their choice.

The government aims to help people to live well and independently in a home of their own choosing.

Providing support to people who wish to stay in their home

We have provided £875 million for the disabled facilities grant to fund adaptations to allow people to stay in their homes safely for longer. The grant pays for around 44,000 adaptations a year. A further £220 million will be made available in 2015 to 2016, when the grant will become part of the Better Care Fund which aims to better integrate health and adult social services.

We also fund Foundations, the national body for home improvement agencies to raise standards within the sector.

In the 2010 Spending Review we secured £6.5 billion investment for vulnerable people and housing related support.

More choice for those considering moving

We are improving choice for those who wish to move, through the Department of Health’s £315 million Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund between 2013 to 2014 and 2017 to 2018. Phase 1 of the fund was announced in July 2013 and will deliver more than 3,500 affordable homes for older people and adults with disabilities or mental health needs. The prospectus for phase 2 is due for publication later in 2014.

The National Planning Policy Framework asks local planning authorities to assess the full housing requirements in their area and plan for a mix of housing based on demographic trends and the needs of different groups in the area, including older people.

We have also made amendments to the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations, exempting from the levy those wanting to extend their own homes, or install residential annexes within their own property boundary. In April 2014 we introduced a 50% council tax discount on family annexes.