Ideas for action guides: practical ideas to influence local housing policy, plans and action

The Older People’s Housing Champions Group, in partnership with Care & Repair England and local organisations from different parts of England, has published a series of Ideas for Action guides.

These Ideas for Action guides, plus a linked ‘Housing Voices‘ film, resource pack and report from Elders Council of Newcastle working with Skimstone Arts and Northumbria University, offer practical ideas for older people’s groups, forums and organisations who want to influence local housing policy, plans and action.

They highlight pioneering ways to engage with older people whose voices are less often heard.

We are very grateful to the Esmèe Fairbairn Foundation for making this work possible.

The guides, film and resources can all be accessed here [July 2018]

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Reports on housing and ageing of interest

Home owners and poverty

This report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation examines the relationship between home-ownership and poverty for all age groups. One of its conclusions is that ‘the poor housing conditions among home-owners in poverty, particularly older outright owners, need greater attention. Fixing homes that are cold, dangerous or in poor repair should enable older people to stay in their homes for longer, and avoid homes becoming a potential cause of ill-health’

Housing and Disabled People – Britain’s Hidden crisis

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has published this report which reveals the findings of an 18 month-long Inquiry, detailing a wide range of recommendations, and calling on UK governments to take urgent action to make homes adaptable and accessible to everyone.

Regarding home adaptations the report calls on local authorities to tackle delays within adaptations systems and ensure that low-cost, minor adaptations in particular can be installed quickly and easily. It is also recommending improved provision of independent information and advice about housing options, including adaptations. [May 2018]

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New reports on housing published in the last couple of months

• Housing and health: Opportunities for sustainability and transformation partnerships – new report from the Kings Fund with the National Federation of Housing Associations

• Sector showcase – housing and independent living report from Housing LIN and Chartered Institute of Housing

• The right place to live a report from Independent Age on private renters aged 65 and over

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Welcome report from Communities and Local Government Committee calls for action on older people’s housing

The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee Inquiry into Older People’s Housing has concluded that a national strategy for older people’s housing is needed to bring together and improve policy in this area.

The CLG Committee’s report on Housing for Older People recommends that the wider availability of housing advice and information should be central to the strategy and the existing FirstStop Advice Service should be re-funded by the Government to provide an expanded national telephone advice service.

The Committee’s recommendations also include:

  • Additional funding for Home Improvement Agencies operating services including a handyperson service for older people.
  • A range of measures to help older people overcome the barriers to moving home.
  • Ensuring that national and local planning policy encourages the building of more of all types of housing for older people – with older people involved in the design process and amending the National Planning Policy Framework.
  • Building all new homes to accessible and adaptable standards so that they are ‘age proofed’ and can meet the current and future needs of older people.

The Committee also calls for the Government to recognise the link between housing, health and social care in the forthcoming Adult Social Care Green Paper [Feb 2018]

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Recent announcements on repairs and adaptations


For the first time in more than a decade the number of non-decent homes in the owner-occupied sector has increased, rising from 2,694,000 in 2015 to 2,912,000 in 2016 – 19.7% of sector stock.

See the latest English Housing Survey Headline report (2016-17) and a blog from Sue Adams from Care & Repair England on the impact


The additional £42m capital grant for home adaptations (announced in the 2017 Autumn Statement) has now been paid out *directly to Local Housing Authorities.

On 24 January the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published a statement to this effect, noting that the council receiving the biggest share is Birmingham, paid £1,007,785.

At the time of the original announcement some local authorities expressed concern about their capacity to complete works and spend the capital in the current financial year.

However, many areas have been working to streamline systems, including creating fast track arrangements, or reviewing the scope for carrying forward other funds into 2018-2019 and using this additional money first.

*DFG main funding is paid via the Better Care Fund

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Updated resources for local action

Our resources page and our summary of local action undertaken by the housing champions has been updated

If you are taking local action on housing do let us know.

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Updated self-help guides on Making your home a better place to live with a long-term condition

Care & Repair England, working with Silverlinks, has updated its range of self-help guides for older people with long term conditions and their carers on making their home a better place to live.

There are six guides covering respiratory, macular and heart disease, dementia, stroke and arthritis; and a general online guide for people with long term conditions.

Each guide advises on what people can do to their home to make living with long term conditions more manageable. They look at areas such as: –

  • design and layout
  • lighting and heating
  • safety, security and technology
  • gadgets and equipment
  • going out and about

The aim is to make life easier so that people can continue to live independently and do the things they want to do.

The guides also describe the range of alternative housing options and offer suggestions about where to find more detailed information, advice and help.

These guides can be accessed on the Silverlink’s Information for Older People page.

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New case studies that integrate health, care and housing to support older people at home

With support from the Quality of Life Charitable Trust, Care & Repair England has published case studies identifying work that prevents hospital admission and delayed transfers of care, reduces the risk of admission to residential care and extends independent living and wellbeing for older people at home and their carers.

The case studies are:

  • Age UK Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Silverlink’s housing options information and advice service in GP services and hospitals
  • Age UK Warwickshire Housing Advice and Information Service, working with local GPs
  • Homewise Memory Matters support for people with dementia at home
  • West of England Care & Repair reducing delayed transfer of care through housing interventions

See Care & Repair England’s health and housing pages for details

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Linking housing and health – Much more to do

Two new resources on health and housing links have recently been published.

A survey from Care & Repair England identifies that housing gets hardly a mention in the recent NHS Sustainability and Transformation plans.

Public Health England offers a range of resources including some  useful infographics to make the case for improving health through the home.

We certainly still have a lot to do to get housing on the health agenda.

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Integration into action: an evaluation of Age UK Warwickshire’s housing options service

This evaluation report about provision of impartial information and advice about housing, care and related finance in later life, provides analysis of the benefits, including the cost benefits, of the service delivered to older people by Age UK Warwickshire.

The initiative is of particular relevance due to its activity at the interface of health, housing and care and the way that the service operated as part of a pro-active GP Care Navigators initiative. This Care Navigators scheme, funded by Clinical Commissioning Groups, pro-actively contacted and visited all people over 75 yrs, particularly focussing on those with multiple long term health conditions / with indicators of high health need.

The housing options additional service was made possible through the EAC FirstStop national programme and the evaluation demonstrates the critical importance of including housing help as part of a holistic response, noting in particular the £8 payback for every £1 spent.


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