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Thread: how to move to sheltered housing

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Question how to move to sheltered housing

    I’m looking for info/advice on how best to go about getting what I think I need A few decades ago I was diagnosed under active Thyroid and Depression in the last7 years I’ve been diagnosed with Peripheral Neuropathy [Mixed sensory and motor], high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, High cloistral, Leg cramps, lymphedema of the legs, Leg Ulcers, Cellulitis, Osteoarthritis and Gallstones. Now they are trying to find out why my spleen is nearly twice the size it should be.

    l‘ve lived with a sibling for 50 years and through the late 1980s and the 1990s this person did most of the caring for or mother who had dementia. Before my sibling had a change to fully recover they began doing thing for me {caring}, over the intervening years my sibling has been doing more and more for me and now its effecting their health was recently was diagnosed with MG [Myasthenia Gravis, which I believe is similar to Parkinson’s] at times they have trouble with talking, seeing, walking etc. we both think that living with me and caring for make the mg worse.
    I don’t know for sure but my mobility is decreasing and I suspect that one day I’ll end up in a wheelchair so I’ve been thinking about shelter housing for both of us not together but a door or two apart, this should solve a lot of problems. I believe us living apart will encourage me to try doing more things for myself and with my sibling living close if I should need help theirs there. I don’t trust easily and having my sibling nearby makes me feel safer and more secure.
    We are secure council tennets. i've been searching the net and the ones i've seen say you need to be 55 and neither of us are
    Any advice on achieving this would be very welcome


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    You can apply for a transfer with your local authority and/or LHAs.

    I have recently done this. We were assessed as being entitled to a 1 bed flat or maisonette. I appealed this decision by letter, as my mobility is very limited. We were given mobility assessmnet level 2, as I use a walking stick or frame indoors and a wheelchair when going out. The main housing officer contacted us and went through all the problems etc that I have.

    We have now been allowed to apply for 2 bungalows and sheltered housing, although I am not 55. (the 2 bedroom criteria has been met due to my health problems and needing someone to stay overnight when my partner is working).

    A lot depends on your LHA and the criteria they use.

    We know we will have to wait longer for a bungalow or a 2 bed sheltered property, but we would rather wait to get what we need, than having to keep moving as my health keeps deteriorating.

    Good Luck.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Your post raises a lot of complex issues.

    The extreme pressure on social housing (council or housing association properties) in many areas means that only those in the most extreme situations are likely to obtain a new tenancy (for one of you). A transfer is likely to be rather easier to obtain, as babyblu64 notes.

    In many areas, people who are waiting for social housing who are currently homeless are waiting a year or more in temporary accommodation only designed to house them for a few weeks, as the properties they are bidding on are almost all going to people who have been in the top priority bracket for even longer.

    You will attract some medical priority for rehousing, and certainly have nothing to lose by enquiring about the housing situation in your area and ultimately by putting in an application for housing. It's just that the reality is that in many areas you stand little chance of being allocated an additional property in the near term unless you fall into the highest priority group.

    Long standing council tenants have much stronger tenancy rights than those who were allocated a property more recently. If you have these stronger rights, you would certainly lose those stronger rights if you both moved, and if one of you remained in the existing property, the remaining person might still lose those rights depending on who is actually the tenant (you, your sibling, or jointly) and who was the tenant when you first moved in. These stronger tenancy rights can only usually be transferred once, but certain transfers do not count.

    If one of you leaves the existing property, the remaining tenant might then be subject to the spare room subsidy ("bedroom tax").

    Over time, sheltered housing is gradually being eliminated in many areas, including the area where I live. The cost of providing a warden, even on a part-time non-residential basis such as one warden visiting several sheltered housing schemes on a weekly rota, makes sheltered housing more expensive than conventional housing. Meanwhile, the amount of support a warden can provide to any individual tenant is limited, not least by the number of tenants each warden serves.

    The limitations of the warden's role means that the additional support in sheltered housing often amounts to little more than keeping an eye on residents and providing some social support. Many residents value the extra reassurance of having a warden, but the warden's support is often felt to have a limited effect in preserving and maintaining independence as the warden cannot do those tasks expected of a carer. With councils struggling to pay for the social care needs of those assessed as being the most needy, paying for sheltered housing is increasingly viewed as an unaffordable luxury.

    In my local area, several sheltered housing schemes have had the warden cover removed because properties in those schemes that became vacant were sitting empty. Nobody would take on the tenancies because housing benefit would not cover the extra costs of the warden and social services would not fund that cost either. At conversion, existing tenants had the option to stay without warden cover or to move to somewhere offering more intensive support. By removing the warden cover, the empty properties could then be allocated to those on the housing waiting list.

    The model that is becoming more common is "extra care" housing, which provides more intensive care support than traditional sheltered housing. It is meant to be a genuine intermediate option between ordinary housing and a care home. However, the costs involved mean that eligibility criteria are tight.

    Most sheltered housing and extra care housing is aimed at frailer older people, not younger disabled people. It sounds as if you are marginally too young to qualify for most of this sort of housing. Typically, there is a minimum age of 60, with any partner having to be at least 50 or 55, though each scheme has its own rules. Even if you were not too young for most of this housing, being at the younger end of the age bracket would mean being surrounded by people who were often much older than you and might not have much in common socially with you.

    It sounds as if both your and your sibling's needs are growing to the point where your current arrangements are not sustainable.

    I would not want to get your hopes up of being housed separately in the near term, especially if you could not bear to be more than a few doors apart. It would depend on the housing availability in your area, but you would only likely qualify as a priority case for rehousing apart from your sibling if there was some reason why you could not live together any longer. Such an inability to live together might well be seen as incompatible with wanting to live close by but in separate properties. If one or both of you did qualify for rehousing, it would be something of a long shot for two properties coming up as close as a few doors apart would seem very low.

    Enhancing your independence is clearly a desirable goal, but you would have to present very strong justification as to why this could not be done with you continuing to live with your sibling.

    It sounds to me as if the primary reason behind your post is that it is inappropriate for you to continue to rely so heavily on your sibling for your care, also your sibling may well have unmet care needs. This suggests starting with the care side of things.

    I suggest both you and your sibling ask social services to assess your needs - you as a disabled person, and your sibling both as a disabled person and your carer. You can bring up the possibility of being rehomed separately and of moving to some form of supported housing during these assessments.

    I suspect social services will attempt to devise a community care package in the first instance, using carers and possibly other services such as day centres. I doubt other forms of support would be offered until the carer option had been fully explored.

    The possibility of being rehomed separately will depend on the housing pressures in your area. Social services may be able to give you an idea of the priority your needs would attract.

    I doubt supported housing such as sheltered housing will be offered at the council's expense unless you were assessed as needing a very expensive community care package and supported housing would be a cheaper alternative, or unless supported housing seemed likely to prevent you from needing a care home place. Still, if you don't ask, you will never know what is available.

    I hope you don't think me harsh in what I've written. I'd love to be able to tell you that what you want is likely to be easily available to you. Unfortunately, publicly funded housing and care services are under extreme pressure, with people in outright crisis situations often facing long and totally unacceptable waits.

    Your situation clearly needs addressing for the sake of you and your sibling. However, I doubt you will be offered the more expensive forms of support, such as supported housing, without first trying carer based support and showing it does not adequately ease the burden on your sibling.

  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    "I hope you don't think me harsh in what I've written"

    why would i think you harsh for telling me how it is, and giving me more likey things to check into
    by the way our mother was a secure tenet, and after her death we were moved here by the council

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Thanks for understanding where I was coming from. Sometimes, explaining your situation to someone else can give fresh insight. I saw the primary issue as being care, with possible rehousing being a secondary issue.

    You really have nothing to lose by asking for needs assessments from social services. Indeed, the thought occurs that you, too, should be assessed as both a disabled person and a carer, because you're the first person your sibling will turn to if she/he needs help.

    Once you've tried whatever support the council offers, you can decide whether you're happy with the package or whether you want to challenge any part of it. By attacking the care side of things first, you will get a better idea whether your needs and your sibling's needs can be met without moving. If one or both of you need to move because your needs cannot be met, you should be able to get social services to support the application(s) for rehousing.

    You should also have nothing to lose by enquiring about rehousing at an appropriate point, though you should always check before doing anything that you are not endangering your current tenancy. The likelihood is that you will retain the right to reject an offer and stay where you are throughout the process, though you should check before signing any paperwork. If you reject too many offers, the application for rehousing could be cancelled.

    I'd start by contacting the adult disability team within your local council's social services department to request needs assessments as disabled people and carers for both you and your brother. Once you have the results of those assessments, you can decide on your next step.

    However, before doing anything I'd hang on for a few days to see what other advice you get. You may well get some helpful comments from other forum members.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Some Housing departments/trusts take over 50s with minimum care needs i e part of a flexicare care package - a weekly twice weekly visit backed up by a personal alarm system - maintained by them.

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