Local Housing Action

NW Champion influencing Housing and Planning for Ageing in Greater Manchester

Thanks to efforts of older activists, and the NW Older People’s Housing Champion in particular, the new Greater Manchester Framework for Creating Age Friendly Homes now includes mention of improving existing homes and C&RE is contributing the GM Mayor’s ‘Retrofit Task Group’ making the case for linking energy efficiency retrofit to future-proofing and improving accessibility of existing homes. NW OPHC activities include giving an Ageing in Place Presentation to Manchester Local Plan Coalition , writing Independent Living Saves Lives, a blog for GM Housing Action, and giving an interview making ageing/ disadvantage link to Climate Emergency Manchester.
{Sept 2021)

Newcastle Elders Council – Outreach and housing conversations

One of their housing initiatives is to reach marginalised and ignored older people (particularly those who are ageing without children or are carers) through use of the arts. They have used film and theatre performances followed by post show discussions, but due to the pandemic they then ran successful virtual events.

Working with Skimstone Arts, supported by the Universities of Northumbria and Newcastle, in 2020 they made a ‘Covid-19 Doorbells’ film. This was used to stimulate discussions during virtual, interactive events about the housing challenges older people were facing during lockdown, as well as wider concerns about their future home and care.

With the easing of restrictions, a series of ‘real world’ Doorbells theatre performances with post show discussions are planned to take place in community venues around Newcastle and surrounding areas during Oct/Nov/ Dec 2021.

[Aug 2021]

Older people from Lewisham and Southwark inspired by London Older People’s Housing Champion

Older people in Southwark & Lewisham who were interested in being part of a new Citizen Research Community (and the potential to influence local housing plans for better ageing) took part in a ‘Decent Homes for Ageing‘ workshop involving London OPH Champion, Ellen Lebethe, who greatly inspired the group. Three further training events took place, all with valuable input from Ellen.  

[May 2021]

Age Friendly London – Action on Housing for Better Ageing

The GLA is developing a plan to make London an Age Friendly City. This includes setting priorities for age-friendly housing action. At an Age Friendly London Roundtable event involving senior decision makers from London Boroughs, GLA & PAiL two short films of national OPH Champions (from the SW and Y&H) talking about how their groups had gone about constructively influencing local housing plans were shown to set the scene for the event.

‘Supporting older Londoners to live safely and well in their existing homes (through better access to aids and adaptations; impartial housing information and advice; and home improvement support services)’ has been set as a top housing priority.

[April 2021]

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Older People’s Housing in Bristol- the importance of “location” and in “having a say”

The guides below offer practical ideas for local older people’s forums and groups who want to influence local housing policy, plans and actions.

Older People’s Housing in Bristol – The importance of “Location” and in “Having a Say”

This report includes a link to the film produced in partnership with the Bristol Older People’s Forum, Care & Repair England and Bristol Ageing Better, “Living at Home: Five Stories from Older People”.

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Living Safely and Well at Home brochure

Care and Repair England have updated the Living Safely and Well at Home brochure.

This resource provides a  practical guide to support people in making their homes safer and healthier. The brochure explains how common housing issues may affect a person’s health, how to make improvements, and who to turn to for more information and practical help.

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Decent Homes for Ageing Well – New Briefing

A new graphic briefing sets out the case for action to make existing homes better places to live and age well.

This new publication from Care & Repair England calls for immediate action to improve the two million non-decent homes lived in by older people, 78% of which are owner occupied.

This new briefing follows on from the Non-Decent Homes guide written by Care & Repair England, which draws on the experience of members of the Older People’s Housing Champions network and a presentation given to the Champions in March 2019 by housing expert Helen Garrett of the Building Research Establishment.

[March 2020]

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New Report Reveals More People Ageing in Poor Housing

A new report by the Centre for Ageing Better and Care & Repair England, Home and Dry: The need for decent homes in later life  plus the companion Data Annex found that over 4.3 million homes in England are non-decent, and almost half (2 million) are lived in by someone over the age of 55.

Improvement of the English housing stock has at best stalled and for some groups, particularly the oldest people, there are signs that conditions are worsening.

  • The number of households over 75yrs living in a non-decent home has increased by 31% in the past 5 years

Most of the housing in poor condition is lived in by home owners, with 78% of non-decent homes headed by someone over 55 years being owner-occupied. The number of low income older home-owners is increasing, and many are facing financial and/or practical barriers to repairing and maintaining their homes.

The Centre for Ageing Better and Care & Repair England are calling for urgent government action to address poor housing.

This would improve occupants’ physical and mental health, contribute to NHS prevention plans, and help to reduce the widening gaps in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy.

[March 2020]

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Champions Launch Home Adaptations Challenge Checklist

The Older People’s Housing Champions have launched their latest guide for the ‘non-expert’, Help with home adaptations: Improving local services

This guide includes a ‘Home Adaptation Challenge Checklist’, a list of possible questions that anyone with an interest in improving delivery of home adaptations will find useful in discussions with local providers.

It will help members of Older People’s Forums, Councillors and disabled people’s groups to work with their councils to review local provision, e.g. helping speed up the time it takes to install home adaptations and adopting best practice.

[November 2019]

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Wirral Older People’s Parliament launches Housing Manifesto

The Wirral Older People’s Parliament are calling on all of those involved in housing in the area to commit to improving housing for ageing.

Their new Manifesto, Better Homes for Older People who live in Wirral: A Housing Manifesto 2019, highlights the critical housing and health links and sets out a succinct 18 point action plan alongside key data.

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Non Decent Homes Guide

The Non Decent Homes Guide is part of a series which offers practical information and advice for local older people’s forums and groups who want to influence local policy, plans and actions in relation to housing and older people. The guide, written by Care & Repair England, draws on the experience of members of the Older People’s Housing Champions network and a presentation given to the Champions in March 2019 by housing expert Helen Garrett of the Building Research Establishment.

This guide aims to provide the lay person with a brief overview of:

  • the extent of housing disrepair in England
  • what is meant by ‘non-decent’ homes and sources of technical information • the impact of poor housing on older occupants
  • action to improve existing homes
  • potential opportunities to influence local decisions about addressing disrepair

The Non Decent Homes Guide can be found here

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Housing Action by Older People’s Groups in Slough and London

The Slough 50plus Forum and Care & Repair England, with initial input from the South East Forum on Ageing (SEEFA), started an internal discussion with Forum members to reflect on what is important about housing in later life. The forum group discussed the “meaning of home” and some members created personalised Digital Stories to “bring to life” their experiences.

In London, Care and Repair England worked with Positive Ageing in London to highlight the views and experiences of older Londoners who have had home adaptations carried out to their homes, highlighting what worked well for them as well as possible improvements. Two focus groups were carried out in April & May 2019, one of the groups including older residents from across the London Boroughs, and the other group included older residents based in the London Borough of Hackney.

The reports from London and Slough can be found here. The Slough report contains links to the personalised Digital Stories.

These reports sit alongside the work of the Older People’s Housing Champions Group on developing their Ideas for Action* guides working with local older people’s groups and organisations across England. In London and Slough older people have come together to influence housing policy and plans locally- the reports highlight their key recommendations.    

These reports also highlight pioneering ways to engage with older people whose voices are less often heard.

If you are taking any local action on housing and ageing, we would love to hear from you.

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Health and Housing

Disappointment in the NHS long term plan on the lack of detail on the impact of housing – and at a time when the World Health Organisations produces a report identifying evidence-based, global recommendations on housing conditions and interventions that promote health.

See Sue Adam’s (Chief Executive of Care & Repair England’s) Blog on the issues for housing and health at this critical time [January 2019]

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