Capital Funding Guide

3. Specialist Homes for Older, Disabled and Vulnerable People

This chapter sets out the Agency’s requirements and procedures which must be followed by providers when providing Affordable Rent and Help to Buy: Shared Ownership accommodation that is classified as specialist housing.

1. Overview

1.1 Purpose

1.1.1 This chapter sets out the Agency’s requirements and procedures which must be followed by providers when providing Affordable Rent and Help to Buy: Shared Ownership accommodation that is classified as specialist housing.

1.1.2 This chapter does not reflect all elements of general programme requirements and should be read in conjunction with the other chapters of the Capital Funding Guide (CFG).

1.2 Context

1.2.1 Specialist housing is housing for older, vulnerable and disabled people. This includes supported housing and also designated housing where access to support is provided where needed.

1.2.2 Within the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP) 2016 to 2021 there is a separate funding stream for specialist rental accommodation. This should not be interpreted as the only funding available for specialist housing. Specialist housing may also be funded, as appropriate, through the Help to Buy: Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy funding streams.

1.2.3 Unless otherwise stated the policies, requirements and procedures of the SOAHP should be applied to the provision of all specialist housing. This section should therefore be read within the context of the other chapters of the CFG and the Agency’s Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme Prospectus.

1.2.4 This chapter sets out the requirements relevant to providers delivering specialist provision under the SOAHP 2016 to 2021. These requirements will apply to each specialist housing type unless stated separately.

1.2.5 In addition to the SOAHP, the Agency is providing funding for specialist housing through the Department of Health’s Care and Support Specialised Housing fund (for older people and adults with disabilities), the Homelessness Change fund 2015 to 2017 (for homeless people and rough sleepers) and the Platform for Life fund (for young people at risk of homelessness who are in education, training or employment). Please see the Department of Health Programmes chapter for details of the requirements under these programmes.

2. Specialist housing types

2.1 General

2.1.1 The SOAHP is intended to meet a diverse range of housing needs. These include schemes for housing older people and housing for disabled and vulnerable people.

2.1.2 Details of the specialist housing types supported under the SOAHP are provided below.

2.2 Housing for older people

2.2.1 Funding is available to support the development of good quality housing for older people.

2.2.2 Housing for older people should appropriately meet locally identified need to fit with, and complement, existing services and supported housing locally.

2.2.3 Housing for older people scheme types can include but are not limited to:

  • Sheltered housing
  • Extra care housing
  • Retirement villages

2.2.4 The Agency has four standard definitions of housing for older people.

1. Housing for older people (all special design features)

This is remodelled or purpose-designed grouped housing that has all the basic facilities and all special design features intended to enable people to live there for their lifetimes. All the following requirements have to be met:

i. Basic facilities:

  • The scheme or main building must have basic facilities of a laundry for residents and/or washing machines in living units or provision for washing machines to be installed
  • The scheme must also have a communal lounge

ii. Special design features:

  • The whole scheme including entrances and the buildings that comprise it must be designed to wheelchair user standards
  • Living units must have walk-in showers or bathrooms adapted for people with mobility problems or wheelchair users
  • Bathrooms in living units that are wheelchair standard must meet the criteria for adapted bathrooms
  • Living units must have kitchens that are designed to wheelchair standards
  • The scheme must have a bathroom with provision for assisted bathing
  • If there is more than one storey there must be a lift

2. Housing for older people (some special design features)

This is remodelled or purpose-designed grouped housing that has all the basic facilities and at least one or more of the special design features listed below. Residents must have access to support services to enable them to live there for their lifetimes. In addition, if there is more than one storey there must be a lift.

i. Basic Facilities:

  • The scheme or main building must have basic facilities of a laundry for residents and/or washing machines in living units or provision for washing machines to be installed
  • The scheme must have a communal lounge

ii. Special Design Features:

  • Living units have walk-in showers or bathrooms adapted for people with mobility problems or wheelchair users
  • Bathrooms in wheelchair standard living units meet the criteria for adapted bathrooms
  • The living units, the entrance area into the building and communal areas are designed to wheelchair user standards

3. Designated supported housing for older people

Buildings with none of the special design facilities and features listed above but which provide accommodation designated for older people requiring support, with support services provided by the landlord or another organisation.

4. Designated housing for older people with access to support as required

Buildings with none of the special design facilities and features listed above but which provide accommodation designated for older people, with a process to enable tenants to access support services provided by the landlord or another organisation where needed.

2.2.5 Properties should be described as housing for older people if they are intended for older people (regardless of the actual characteristics of each tenant) and they fall in to one of the above categories. The distinctive design features listed for housing for older people (all special design features) and housing for older people (some special design features)should be over and above accessible and adaptable homes requirements to general needs properties. The age of tenants actually resident is not a defining feature.

2.2.6 Tenants in housing for older people (all special design features) or housing for older people (some special design features) should have access to support services as the need arises to enable them to live in the property for the rest of their lifetimes.

2.2.7 Access to support means that, as a minimum, a process is in place to assist in accessing and/or signposting tenants to the support services that they need. Except in the case of ‘designated supported housing for older people’, the delivery of, or level, of support is not a defining feature.

2.3 Housing for disabled and vulnerable people

2.3.1 Funding is available to support the development of good quality housing provision for disabled and vulnerable people that can be either supported or where access to support is provided where needed.

2.3.2 The term ‘supported housing’ applies to purpose designed or designated supported housing. The delivery of a support service (for example funded by Supporting People) does not necessarily result in the categorisation of housing as supported if the property is not purpose designed or designated for a particular client group. In the absence of either of these two conditions, housing is categorised as general needs.

2.3.3 The Agency recognises that vulnerability covers a wide range and levels of need and that not all vulnerable people need supported housing. However, some people may require on-going support and care in permanent supported housing accommodation and others may need tailored support for a limited period in order to support them in to more independent living and a settled lifestyle, with access to education, training and employment.

2.3.4 The Agency has four standard definitions of housing for disabled and vulnerable people which are:

1. Purpose-designed supported housing for disabled and vulnerable people

Buildings that are purpose-designed or remodelled to enable residents to adjust to independent living or to enable them to live independently and which require specific design features. There must be support services provided by the landlord or another organisation. As a minimum, a building or scheme must have the following:

  • Facilities: The scheme or main building must have basic facilities of a laundry for residents or washing machines in living units provided by the landlord and must also have a communal lounge
  • Design features: The entrance area in to the building, communal areas and some living units must be designed to wheelchair user standards

2. Purpose-designed housing for disabled and vulnerable people with access to support

Buildings that are purpose-designed or remodelled to enable residents to adjust to independent living or to enable them to live independently and which require specific design features, as per definition 1 above, but without the requirement for support services to be provided on site. Tenants must instead have access to support and a process be in place to assist in accessing and/or signposting them to the support services that they need.

3. Designated supported housing for disabled and vulnerable people

Buildings with some or no special design facilities and features but that are designated for a specific client group with support services in place to enable them to adjust to independent living or to enable them to live independently.

4. Designated housing for disabled and vulnerable people with access to support

Buildings with some or no special design facilities and features but that are designated for a specific client group with a process to enable tenants to access support services where needed to enable them to adjust to independent living or to enable them to live independently.

2.3.5 Supported housing scheme types can include but are not limited to:

  • Sheltered housing
  • Shared supported houses
  • Domestic violence refuges
  • Drug/alcohol rehabilitation schemes
  • Hostels
  • Foyers

2.3.6 Funding is only available for the provision of accommodation and cannot fund other services.

2.3.7 Disabled and vulnerable housing client groups The Agency does not limit the client groups for whom it funds specialist housing. However, the Agency does divide this housing provision in to fifteen broad client group headings (see below).

  • Homeless families with support needs families with dependent children considered to be homeless, who may or may not be owed a homeless duty and who need support to maintain an independent and settled lifestyle

  • Offenders and people at risk of offending – offenders and people at risk of offending who are having difficulties in sustaining their accommodation or living independently as a result of their offending behaviour

  • People at risk of domestic violence – people who are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, domestic violence/domestic abuse. They may have left their home, or having difficulties in maintaining their home or their personal safety and security

  • People with alcohol problems – people with alcohol problems who need support to maintain their independence as a result

  • People with drug problems – people with drug or other substance problems who need support to maintain their independence as a result

  • People with HIV/AIDS – people with HIV/AIDS who need support to maintain their independence within the community

  • People with learning disabilities or autism – people who need support to maintain their level of independence. They may have challenging behaviour, deficits in social functioning and/or adaptive behaviour or impairments affecting social interaction, communication and imagination. These disabilities are usually present from childhood

  • People with mental health problems – for people with a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health problem who need support to maintain independence. They may be:

    • People with enduring but relatively low level mental health problems that interfere with their ability to cope or function on a day to day basis
    • People whose behaviour is a concern for their own safety or that of others
    • People at risk of suicide or depression
    • People who have been diagnosed as mentally ill and are having, or have had, specialist treatment
  • People with physical or sensory disability – people with mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, suffering any loss or abnormality of an anatomical structure or function, or suffering from a debilitating or long-term illness including young onset dementia who need support to maintain their level of independence. Schemes that will be predominantly be for older people with dementia or other disabilities should follow the Housing for Older People route

  • Refugees – people who have been officially accepted as refugees, or who have been given indefinite or exceptional leave to remain. This excludes those seeking asylum

  • Rough sleepers – supported housing for rough sleepers defined as a person bedded down for the night on the street or sleeping outside or sleeping in buildings or other places not designed for habitation, or someone at risk of rough sleeping

  • Single homeless people with support needs – single people who need support to maintain an independent and settled lifestyle considered by the service provider to be homeless, who may or may not be owed a homeless duty

  • Teenage parents – Young single parents (usually aged less than 20) needing support and vulnerable young women in this age group who are pregnant

  • Young people at risk – young people aged 16 – 25 who are homeless or in insecure accommodation, and who need support to be able to take care of themselves or to protect themselves from harm or exploitation

  • Young people leaving care – young people leaving local authority care who have been looked after for a continuous period of at least 13 weeks after the age of 14

3. Additional information

3.1 Care homes

The Agency makes the following distinctions for registered care homes:

  • ‘Care homes providing personal care’ are presumed to fall within the definition of social housing for low cost rental accommodation in section 69 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 and are either purpose-designed supported housing or housing for older people (all special design features)
  • ‘Care homes providing nursing care’ are presumed not to be social housing unless the accommodation provided can be demonstrated to be low cost rental accommodation. These homes would therefore outside the definitions of supported housing and housing for older people

3.2 Care or support provided by other agencies

The provision of care or support services to a resident such as domiciliary care is not in itself grounds for classifying the stock as supported housing or housing for older people. One of the definitions in section 2 of this chapter must be met.

3.3 Night shelters

Night shelters which only provide accommodation overnight or a very short term resting place and give no written occupancy agreement are considered not to be affordable housing and therefore not eligible for funding. If the scheme provides a home and provides a written occupancy agreement, and the resident has right to day and night access to their accommodation, this may be a hostel rather than a night shelter and therefore will be considered as affordable housing and, provided one of the above definitions is met, may be eligible for funding.

4. Rents

4.1 General

4.1.1 Rent schemes should follow the processes set out in Affordable Rent.

4.2 Specialist housing

4.2.1 Housing for older, disabled and vulnerable often includes a range of services to support the particular needs of the client group. When setting an Affordable Rent, the gross market rent comparables should be based on similar types and models of service provision. Where there are insufficient comparables for similar types of provision in the local area, valuers should be requested to identify comparables from other areas, and extrapolate their best view of the gross market rent that would be applicable in the location in which the property is situated. Providers should set the initial rent (including service charge) at up to 80% of that level.

5. Shared Ownership

5.1 General

5.1.1 Delivery of specialist Shared Ownership schemes under the SOAHP should follow the Agency’s standard processes and eligibility criteria set out in the Help to Buy: Shared Ownership chapter.

5.1.2 Where applicable, providers should also refer to section 3.7 Older Persons Shared Ownership - Help to Buy: Shared Ownership.