15. HOUSING AND HOUSING SUPPORT
The purpose of this chapter is to indicate the importance to carers of having suitable housing and to set the necessary action within the context of housing reform and Reshaping Care.
15.1 There is no specific Care 21 recommendation in relation to housing or housing support. However, over the past few years carers have raised a number of concerns about housing, primarily the suitability of housing for changing needs, and housing for adults with learning disabilities who outlive their parents. Issues about equipment and adaptations are covered in chapter 16 on the use of assistive technology. However, it is important to note here that aids and adaptations can help people to remain in their own home which can result in less pressure on social housing.
15.2 Some of the specific concerns raised include:
- People with learning disabilities can be allocated a house but then there is no funding to put the support services in place. We should explore ways of predicting demand (for housing and support) that link person-centred planning with capacity;
- Houses are in the wrong location for individuals;
- People with learning disabilities want and should be able to access the same opportunities for having their own home as people without disabilities;
- Much of sheltered housing is single room or bedsit and does not allow for visiting carers and other family members, and supported accommodation does not allow for partners to be resident and to continue in their caring role; and
- Equipment and adaptations should be provided quickly (see chapter 16 on Assistive Technology).
15.3 Housing is an important element in enabling carers to support the person they care for to live independently, safely and with dignity in their own homes and communities.
15.4 The issues raised by carers have been recognised as part of the joint Scottish Government/ COSLA Reshaping Care programme. The housing workstream known as 'Wider Planning for an Ageing Population' has been taken forward through a stakeholder working group. The group has identified five main outcomes for older people's housing:
- Clear strategic leadership is in place at national and local level about the housing outcomes to be delivered for older people;
- Older people are better assisted to remain in, and make best use of, existing housing stock;
- Investment in new housing provision across the sectors meets the future needs of older people;
- The needs of older people for low level, preventative support are met; and
- The infrastructure to support these outcomes is improved.
15.5 The workstream also considered a range of options to achieve these outcomes. Its report 27 proposes 27 suggested actions for specific measures, covering policy, evidence, standards, guidance, delivery and infrastructure.
15.6 The Scottish Government has launched a discussion paper on the future shape of housing policy in the light of the action taken to respond to the economic downturn, the future constraints on public expenditure, and the many other challenges facing Scottish housing over the next few years. One of these is responding to the increase in the number of people aged 75 and over. The discussion paper therefore highlights the importance of supporting independent living, and more effective links between housing, social care and health policies and services in the future. This should assist those caring for older or disabled people.
15.7 Glasgow City Council has recently demonstrated how allocations policies can be adapted to support families in difficult circumstances. With a range of partners the Council produced in March 2010 ' A Practical Guide for Registered Social Landlords: Housing and Autism Spectrum Disorder ( ASD).' These guidelines are a reminder of what registered social landlords need to do to fulfil their duties and to assist people with ASD to get access to appropriate living conditions. It is helpful to the carers of people with ASD. For example, a single mother of two children, one with Asperger's Syndrome, lived in a two-bedroom property in multi-storey flats. The son with Asperger's Syndrome needed his own bedroom. The allocations policy did not take account of her son's need for his own space, as it only took account of physical disability. The Autism Resource Centre worked closely with the Registered Social Landlord to amend the policy so as to award a medical priority for applicants affected by ASD.
ACTION POINT 15.1
For the duration of this strategy, the Scottish Government and COSLA will work with local authorities, housing associations, the independent rented sector, Health Boards and other partners to ensure that the needs and views of carers are taken into account in developing more effective links between housing, social care and health policies and services.
ACTION POINT 15.2
Carers views will be taken into account during public engagement events in 2010 on the Reshaping Care for Older People programme. These views will help shape the development of that programme.