Older people need national housing strategy says CLG Committee

A recent report has concluded that a national strategy on housing for older people needs to be introduced.

Put together by the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee, the report on Housing for Older People urges the Government to acknowledge the link between social care and housing in their soon to be released green paper.

As well as highlighting the need for wider information and advice to be included in the strategy, the Committee also suggests that changes could be made to existing regulations in order to alleviate the relevant issues. This includes amending the National Planning Policy Framework in order to encourage the development of housing specifically for the older generation. Within this, it recommends that councils should identify a proportion of new build which could then be designed with this in mind. In addition, the report proposes that each council should publish a strategy, explaining how they intend to meet the housing requirements of older people within the area.

The Committee goes on to make a number of other suggestions, which it hopes will reduce the obstacles faced by the older generation when in search of suitable housing. These included additional funding for Home Improvement Agencies operating services, boosting the development of housing suited to older people as well as introducing a specialised accreditation for certain companies. This would indicate that they provide tailored services to older people wanting to move home and potentially improve the guidance offered to the older generation in terms of mortgages and moving home.

Commenting on the report was MP Clive Betts. The Chair of the Communities and Local Government stated: “With an ageing population, it’s vital that the link between housing and health and social care is recognised. A new national strategy for older people, taking on board the recommendations of our report, should be linked to the Government’s forthcoming social care green paper.

“There is a huge variety of housing options for those in later life, so it’s important that older people are given help to make the right decisions about their future.

“A properly funded telephone advice service, bringing together information on everything from repairs and heating to moving and care options, would help people to make the right choices and live comfortably whether in their present homes or by moving to different accommodation.

“The right kind of housing can help people stay healthy and support them to live independently. This can help reduce the need for home or residential care, bringing real benefits to the individual and also relieving pressure on the health service. The green paper must consider the range of housing for older people, from mainstream and accessible homes to supported and extra care housing, as well as access to adaptations and repairs.”

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