The UK government have this week announced thousands of extra homes, specially designed for people with disabilities, mental health issues and older people who need extra support, will be created over the next three years with an additional £76 million a year.
This supported or specialised housing is designed to be accessible and aid independent living by having features including:
- Individual home with their own front door
- flexibility to adapt or install equipment or assistive technology in the home
- varying levels of personal care and support to residents, including access to GP or other health services
- communal areas (for housing for older people)
The fund is run in partnership with Homes England for schemes outside London, and the Mayor of London for London-based schemes, who implement the programme. Providers can bid for money through Homes England and the Mayor of London’s office to build these specially designed new homes.
Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage said:
“No one should have to go into a residential home or get stuck in hospital because of a lack of specialised housing adapted to suit their needs. This programme provides a vital life line for some of the most vulnerable people in society to live their own lives in a home that works for them.
“We want the fund to be used to its maximum potential so more homes can be created, more quickly, ensuring that thousands of people are supported to live independently in their own homes, benefitting both them and their carers.”
The Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund (CASSH) was announced in 2012 and has been extended until 2021. After two fixed bidding rounds were rolled out housing providers have applied for funding and already built around 3300 specially designed new homes.
To streamline the process and enable as many schemes to get off the ground as possible, local authorities and housing developers will now be able to apply on a rolling basis, until all the funding has been allocated for the year.
The housing ensures people with disabilities and older people can live independently for longer in the community.
Homes England Executive Director, Gordon More said:
“So far we have allocated over £150 million to specialist housing providers to support new development for disabled and older people. Bidding for this important fund remains open with a further £125 million available through Homes England over the next three years. We urge all specialist housing providers to consider how they can access this funding to provide new homes for vulnerable people”
James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development at the Greater London Authority, said:
“The Mayor is delighted to have secured additional funding from the Government for his Care and Support Specialised Housing programme. This will enable us to boost the supply of much-needed homes that meet the diverse needs of Londoners – improving quality of life for the capital’s older and disabled residents and helping them to continue living independent and fulfilling lives.”
Doubleday Court, London
Doubleday Court, in Leyton, London, provides 12 new high specification homes for adults with learning disabilities, developed by Newlon Housing Trust in partnership with Outward and London Borough of Waltham Forest.
The scheme is staffed 24/7, with care and support services provided by Outward and has a warden call facility with an office and a sleeping room for staff.
There is a large communal lounge and substantial external communal space, including planters which residents can use for gardening activities.
Most residents were moved from shared accommodation and are now living more independently in housing which can meet their changing needs over time. Each person was assessed by social services and allocated a care package according to their needs. Families, friends and other professionals where involved throughout the assessment and transition processes to ensure a smooth move.
One new resident explains why she is so happy moving into her own flat having previously lived in a shared home:
“It was an old house that had creaky floorboards. You could hear everyone moving about. I had to wake up early in the morning to use the shower as we shared a bathroom. In my new flat, I can get up when I want and have friends to come over to visit.”
Village 135, Manchester
Village 135 is an extra care village of 135 apartments and community hub for Older People in Wythenshawe, Manchester.
Following an investment of £5.19m from the Department of Health and Social Care, through Homes England and Specialist Housing fund, Village 135 is being developed to meet the needs of the ageing population in the local area,
The scheme is built over two sites, redeveloping two existing tower blocks. It features a glazed footbridge crossing a busy road that connects two existing, remodelled residential tower blocks. Developed by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, residents are provided with a flexible on-site care package (on-site 24-hour care team). The scheme has been designed to meet Home for Life standards, so residents will not have to relocate in the future, should their care needs increase.
The interior spaces and layout designed to dementia design principles, apartments have an ensuite ‘Jack and Jill’ shower room, a landscaped sensory gardens and Biomass Communal Heating System offering energy efficient and low-cost heating and hot water provision.
A ‘Community Hub’ with lots of facilities on site, including a Café/Bistro, spa bathroom, hair and beauty salon, which provide regular training and work experience for students.
The facilities offer further engagement with the local community by hosting internal functions, such as birthday parties, anniversaries, funerals, external functions and allowing full access to the consultation room for the use of case conferences between professionals.