Wealden District Council
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Wealden District Council’s HRA Older Persons Housing & Support Strategy Summary

For the purposes of this strategy older people are anyone aged 55.

The strategy is for current and future housing applicants (including applicants for leasehold), council tenants and council Retirement Living leaseholders.

The strategy has 6 key priorities, which are set out below together with details of how we intend to meet them.

Priority 1: To provide older people with advice on the housing options and support available locally so they are able to make informed decisions.

We will meet this priority through:

  • Ensuring our website is up to date including maintaining a specialist area for retirement living accommodation.
  • Referring tenants/leaseholders to the Council‘s Housing Options service for advice on what housing options exist, including options outside of Council owned accommodation.
  • Ensuring older residents are financially included through the actions set out in our Financial Inclusion Strategy.
  • Promoting services designed to help encourage older people online.
  • Providing IT training in Retirement Living Courts where a need exists.
  • Actively promoting the activities run at Retirement Living Courts and elsewhere including those specifically for older people.
  • Funding a Housing Solutions worker to support those needing a more intensive support service to find suitable accommodation to meet their needs.

Priority 2: To make the best use of existing housing stock.

We will meet this priority through:

  • Providing a Tenant Incentive Scheme to encourage and financially assist under occupying households and those requiring retirement living to move.
  • Actively marketing our accommodation options for older people to existing tenants.
  • Ensure adapted properties are re-let to people needing adaptions.
  • When carrying out refurbishment works to retirement living properties ensure they meet current building regulations standards for accessibility level 1 – visitable dwellings.
  • When leasehold retirement living properties become vacant, the Council aims to buy them back in mixed tenure blocks, subject to funding being available.
  • Identify retirement living schemes for leasehold only accommodation.

Priority 3: To ensure the Council offers a range of affordable, suitable, good quality housing options for older people to rent and lease.

We will meet this priority through:

  • Converting all bedsit/studio accommodation in Retirement Living Courts to one or two bedroom flats.
  • Ensuring retirement living courts provide good value for money accommodation and related services.
  • Developing local lettings plans to help create balanced and mixed communities.
  • Developing a set of standards for new developments for older people, including meeting current building regulations standards for accessibility level 2- accessible and adapted dwellings.
  • Exploring the feasibility of new council built homes meeting current building regulations standards for accessibility level 1.
  • Provide new build homes meeting current building regulations standards for accessibility level 3 – wheelchair user dwellings, subject to demand.
  • Ensuring all housing designed for older people offer safe and secure environments. Looking at the suitability of all bungalows for different groups of customers e.g. older people.
  • Looking at the feasibility of developing a programme to make existing bungalows suitable for both elderly and wheelchair users.
  • Exploring the need for future provision of older person’s accommodation, including additional retirement living courts and extra care accommodation both for rent and leasehold.
  • Looking at how we can re-model the age-restricted properties including providing additional support services to ensure they meet the needs of older people.
  • Considering physical constraints for those with mobility problems accessing the building and their flat when refurbishing or building any new retirement living courts.

Priority 4: To allow older people to live independently in their homes for as long as they choose or it is safe to do so.

We will meet this priority through:

  • Continuing to provide Housing Revenue Account funding to assist those needing minor and major adaptations.
  • Exploring the possibility of providing floating support outside retirement living courts.
  • Exploring the feasibility of new council built homes meeting current building regulations standards for accessibility level 1.
  • Ensuring the alarm call services are able to work using internet protocol technology once the digital switchover happens.
  • Exploring the provision of telehealth/telecare services.
  • Explore enhanced living services within retirement living courts to enable residents to stay within the court for longer.
  • Encourage older tenants living in general needs accommodation to use the council’s telecare provider for alarm and other services.
  • Funding a Housing Solutions Worker to ensure residents have assistance and support to access long term housing solutions that meet their needs.
Priority 5: To provide and/or signpost (refer) older council tenants/leaseholders to appropriate support services.
We will meet this priority through:
  • Reviewing current provision of alarm equipment and support in retirement living and age-restricted properties ensuring there is a link to the wider health services.
  • Exploring what other telecare provision exists and whether there is a need for these additional services e.g. motion sensors, medical prompts and consider the feasibility of providing these e.g. practical and financial implications.
  • Considering how we could link age-restricted properties to retirement living court to ensure tenants benefit from the support and other services available at the courts.
Priority 6: To promote involvement in the community, well-being and healthy living.
We will meet this priority through:
  • Working with partners to deliver activities for older people.
  • Providing a range of activities in the retirement living courts to ensure health and wellbeing.
  • Actively encourage older non-retirement living tenants to attend activities in the retirement living courts.
  • Promoting partners activities for older people.
  • Delivering our Tenant Involvement Strategy ensuring we offer a wider range of opportunities for tenants and leaseholders to get involved.
  • Supporting the work of the Retirement Living Residents Group.