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Thousands of independent-living homes to be built across the UK

14th August 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb recently announced that plans to build accommodation to help older people live independently for as long as possible have been given the go ahead.

This new supported housing is designed to specifically meet the needs of those who face long-term physical challenges that affect their daily lives. Possible features of these homes include accessible showers, few stairs, storage space that is placed at a reachable height for those who use wheelchairs and handrails in places where there is the potential for falls.

As part of the announcement, Norman Lamb acknowledged that most people want to live independently in their own homes and that "more of us will need housing that supports us to do that" as our aging population continues to get bigger. In light of this, the Department of Health has now allocated funding to various local authorities that will be spent on the construction of 3,544 new independent-living homes.

Local authorities across the country were asked to bid for a share of £300 million of funding that was set aside by the Department of Health to supplement the supported accommodation market. Of this funding, £92 million will be issued to the Homes and Communities Agency, which is working with 86 agencies to build 2,875 new homes across the country, and approximately £29 million will be awarded to the Greater London Assembly, which will be dividing this between 35 agencies for the creation of 669 new independent-living homes.

Many people can install independent-living aids such as stairlifts and ramps in their home, but this project will deliver new houses that are already adapted for those with mobility difficulties. These new homes are essential for ensuring that everyone has access to accommodation that can help them live independently for longer, allowing people to downsize to a more manageable and affordable property if staying in their current home presents too many problems.

These plans for supported housing that have recently been announced by Norman Lamb represent just the first phase of this scheme, and more independent-living homes are expected to be built in the future from the remainder of the £300 million of funding pledged by the Department of Health. The bidding process for the second phase of funding and construction will be launched in 2013 and it is hoped that thousands more affordable supported housing will be available in the near future as a result.

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