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£300m boost to care at home

Government fund hopes to encourage creation of innovative supported housing

Mark Gould

Monday, 29 October 2012

The government has allocated £300m to a fund which will be used to build innovative supported housing to free up hospital and care home space by allowing people to grow old in their own homes.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said the fund could result in the building of up to 9,000 new or modernised homes.

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.

Mr Lamb said 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.

The Department of Health says 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.

Local authorities and other 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.

Mr 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.

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.

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