Mayor unveils £60m housing fund to help older and disabled Londoners

26 October 2012

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today announced a fund of up to £60 million to help boost the quality and choice of housing available for older and disabled people in the capital.

Delivered in partnership with the Department of Health, the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund will be targeted at delivering purpose built homes that adhere to the Mayor's high standards of design as already outlined in the London Plan. The investment forms a key part of the next stage of the Mayor’s ‘Housing Covenant’, which will improve Londoners’ housing options while boosting jobs and growth in London’s construction industry.

To help those with specific housing needs to live more independently and to help stimulate the specialised housing market, the Mayor is inviting bids for funding from a range of organisations that champion innovative design, accessibility and new technology. It is envisaged that the fund could help around 1,500 older and disabled Londoners.

The Mayor is keen to work in partnership with public land owners, particularly NHS trusts, to help bring forward land for development of specialised accommodation to help reduce the burden on stretched health and care budgets. Proposals will be reviewed by a specialist panel that will feature representation from leading housing experts such as Crossbench Peer Lord Best of Godmanstone, who chaired Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (HAPPI), and Sam Mauger, Chief Executive of Age UK London.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Quality housing for older and disabled Londoners is in short supply and there is a pressing need to meet increasing demand. I am determined that this fund helps to deliver high quality homes that people want to live in and which reflect the diversity of their needs and aspirations. By allowing people to move to well designed, accessible homes, it will also help to give older and disabled Londoners renewed independence and dignity. I'd like to see some truly innovative proposals coming forward, ones that set new standards in design and that provide a benchmark for how this type of housing should be delivered."

Minister of State for Care Services, Norman Lamb MP, said: “Most people want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible, and as the population ages more and more of us will need housing that supports us. Our £300 million fund will help create thousands of homes, providing people with more choice and an alternative to residential care.”

Samantha Mauger, Chief Executive of Age UK London, said: “Age UK London is delighted that the GLA will be supporting initiatives to provide suitable housing options for older Londoners that reflect their diverse needs and cultures – something that we urged the Mayor of London to do in our Older People’s Manifesto. Issues such as eliminating fuel poverty, providing accessibility, as well as homes that can accommodate aid and adaptations are crucial to the wellbeing of older Londoners. We look forward to seeing the development of this exciting programme.”

The development of specially designed housing of this kind can also give people the option to downsize from a larger home to a more manageable property, better suited to their individual needs. In turn this will improve the wider housing market by freeing up larger properties, helping to tackle the blight of overcrowding and providing more homes for working families.

Notes to editors

1. For more information on the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund and to download a prospectus, please visit www.london.gov.uk/priorities/housing/mayors-care-and-supported-housing-fund

2. Over five years from 2013/14, £40m capital funding will be made available by the Department of Health for The Mayor’s Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund to support the development of specialised housing for older people and younger disabled adults living in London. 3. This funding may be supplemented by up to a further £20m capital funding available in the first two years of the programme. It is anticipated that combined the fund will initially accommodate at least 1,500 Londoners with specialised housing needs.

4. The fund will stimulate the specialised housing market across the capital by:

 

(a) Improving the appeal of specialised housing options available to Londoners by increasing the variety, quality and number of homes available, particularly those for sale or shared ownership.(b) Supporting the supply of well-designed affordable housing schemes including a specialised element.(c) Promoting new and innovative types of supported housing schemes, that may incorporate new technologies that are designed to help deliver appropriate levels of care for Londoners.(d) Supporting supply of specialised housing across the wider market, through targeted investment into private developments that provide attractive housing opportunities for a wide range of homeowners.(e) Improving joined-up working at a local level between local authorities, housing developers (private and affordable), health professionals, social services and local planners. This will result in a legacy of good practice and local analysis and assessment of need that can inform and ensure future development of specialised housing whilst adhering to the needs of Londoners.4. The fund can be used to build new specialised homes, and remodel existing poorly utilised sheltered accommodation. These new homes must be designed to high standards that will enable disabled and older people in London to live independently but where high levels of care can be economically provided for the resident if and when it is required. They will provide a range of property for rent and for sale that will be particularly of use for those people whose care cannot be adequately delivered in their existing home.5. The fund will run from 2013-14 and complete at the end of 2017-18. It will be delivered in two phases. Phase one invites bids for supported housing developments that require housing grant. Phase two invites expressions of interest on stimulating the private housing market. The advisory panel will input into phase two of the fund.6. The bidding round opens on 26 October 2012 and closes on 18 January 2013.7. To read more about the Mayor’s Housing Covenant please visit www.london.gov.uk/housingcovenant