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£300m to "create thousands of homes, providing people with more choice and an alternative to residential care"
Date of article: 29-Oct-12
Article By: Rachel Baker, News Editor
Boosting the supported housing market and helping people to grow old in their own homes are the aims of a new £300 million pot of money that local authorities will be able to bid for part of, Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb has announced.
Up to 9,000 new or modernised homes specially designed for the needs of disabled and older people who need extra support could be created with the money.
High quality, innovative housing will help people stay independent for longer allowing them to receive care and practical help in their own home, reducing the need for them to go into care homes or hospitals.
Local housing providers across the country are now able to bid for money to either build new specially designed homes or to modernise existing specialised housing.
The specialised housing will 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.
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.”
This specially designed housing will enable people to downsize from a larger home to a more manageable property designed for their needs.
The first phase of the programme will invite bids 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.
A more suitable property for a 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.
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 per cent 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.”