Council to review Sheltered Housing

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Proposals for a new model of housing for older people will be considered by Angus Council in the coming weeks.

The report will be considered by the Social Work & Health Committee on January 12, and by the Communities Committee on January 19, reflecting the specific responsibilities of each committee.

Council leader Iain Gaul said changes were being proposed to ensure that housing provision for older people was fit for purpose, affordable and sustainable.

“I am grateful to everyone who took part in the recent consultation. It is clear that people value the safe, secure and social environment that sheltered housing offers.

“The recommendations being put forward reflect both the feedback we’ve received and the need to develop a more sustainable and affordable model of housing for older people.

“The council remains committed to ensuring that tenants care and support needs are met, but we must also comply with the requirements of Self Directed Support.”

The committee report recommends the introduction of retirement housing for people over 60 years and the creation of a needs-based sheltered housing service, for adults of any age who have a medical/ support need to live in a sheltered environment. An expanded caretaker service and a 4year programme of investment in the communal facilities at each complex are also proposed.

The current universal provision of tenancy support services to sheltered housing tenants does not comply with the requirements of the recently introduced Self Directed Support. The report therefore seeks approval to explore the potential of a social enterprise with Voluntary Action Angus, to introduce a new preventative care service which tenants could use.

Councillor Gaul added: “The housing requirements of older people are changing as tailored care and support packages are now enabling people to live at home for as long as they can. This is a positive change and housing services for older people must change with it.

“We are already seeing lessening demand for some of our sheltered housing.Five years ago the total losses from void properties was just over £91,000 - last year it was just under £217,000. We cannot sustain that level of lost income to housing.

“It is well known that the overall financial position for council services has never been so severe. In that context we have to ensure that all of our services operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

If the report is approved around 210 of the council’s 626 sheltered housing units would become retirement housing, with the remaining 416 retained as sheltered housing. Changes would be phased in as tenancies change. None of the current tenants would be required to move.

Further consultation would take place with tenants regarding improvements to complexes. A working group would be formed to explore the development of a new preventative care service to support older residents to live at home.