Housing Manifesto launched by older people’s champions

“Ageing Well: a Housing Manifesto” has been launched by the Older People’s Housing Champions, a national network of older activists who support action by older people’s groups to improve housing and related services for an ageing population across England.

The emphasis of the manifesto is that by focussing on the housing needs of our ageing population there can be significant health and economic benefits – vindicating additional resources and funding in a number of key areas as well as demanding new thinking in some key areas.

The 10 “key asks” of the Manifesto are:

Improve existing homes for good ageing

The vast majority of people spend most of their later life in ordinary housing (not especially built for older people). Therefore:

  1. Home Adaptations assistance should be mandatory, delivered quickly, efficiently and be a core part of future integrated health, social care and housing systems.
  2. There should be nationwide provision of practical, affordable housing repair and adaptation services – including home improvement agencies and handyperson services for older people in all housing sectors.
  3. Small “healthy at home” grants or low cost loans for essential repairs and improvements (including heating systems) should be made available for disadvantaged older people, resulting in benefits both for individuals and
  4. Local authority house condition audits should be re-introduced alongside private sector housing renewal programmes to tackle disrepair and prevent existing housing stock decline.

Build new homes to meet the range of diverse needs in later life

An ageing society means we need more imaginative housing options for older people of all tenures, both mainstream and specialist housing.

  1. Build all ordinary housing for all ages – all new homes should be built to accessible standards and be suitable for further adaptation.
  2. Build more innovative mainstream housing of a design and size that is particularly suitable for later life.
  3. Build a wider range of specialist and supported housing for those with later life care and support needs.

Provide independent, impartial information and advice

Timely, integrated information and advice about later life housing, care and related finance (from a trusted, impartial source) enables older people to make well-informed decisions.

  1. A national source of independent, specialist, housing, care and finance information, combined with impartial local one-to-one advice and support, is urgently needed for older people, their carers and professionals.
  2. A register of accessible, adaptable housing would help people locate suitable homes quickly when their needs change.

Planning and engaging with older people

We need local housing strategies developed that place housing at the heart of health, care and wellbeing for older people.

  1. Older people – experts through experience – need to be engaged and involved in developing and delivering housing solutions for later life at all levels.

A download of the manifesto can be found here: Housing champions Housing Manifesto Final 2017

The Older People’s Housing Champions is a national network of older activists who support action by older people’s groups to improve housing and related services for an ageing population across England.

Posted by Tony Watts