Older persons housing strategy
The local context
The Draft Local Plan
This plan identifies the future need for specialist housing for older people in the borough, and sets out the predicted supply required to meet that need in Welwyn Hatfield:
- At least 20% of all new dwellings on sites involving 5 or more new dwellings will meet standards for 'accessible and adaptable dwellings',
- 715 dwellings will be supported e.g. sheltered housing, flexi-care, extra-care, assisted living and other forms of supported housing, providing such developments are located in accessible locations. The equivalent of 5% of all new housing development at Strategic Development Sites (the largest development sites to be allocated in the borough) will be housing for older people.
- 330 extra bed-spaces to help meet the accommodation needs of those who need specialist supported residential or nursing care.
The Independent Living Team
We have an independent living team which provides housing and oversees support services for older people in the borough. They are responsible for:
- approximately 1700 designated Sheltered Housing Properties
- A designated Flexi Care scheme (Chilton Green) comprising of 85 properties in total. A number of properties are available for flexi care clients depending on the mobility and currents needs. (Flexi Care provision is provided by on site carers available 24 hours a day).
- 1000 properties supplied with "lifeline" support services two 3rds to older people in the private sector and one 3rd in council accommodation
- They also promote independent living through adaptations that make homes suitable for people with a physical disability.
- They work with partners at Herts County Council to meet the needs of older people through assistive technologies such as Tele-care
- Manage a community bus service which helps to reduce social isolation providing regular local journeys, shopping trips and days out.
There are a small number of properties in the council's stock of sheltered housing schemes that are difficult to let. In the past some of these properties, when empty were transferred to general needs. However, the predicted increase in the older population could mean this is no longer sustainable in the long term, as the demand for sheltered housing may outweigh the supply if the predicted increases materialise.
The borough has undertaken a review of the council's homes for older people. The outcome is a number of recommendations for the physical improvement of most of the homes for older people and the replacement of a smaller number which are no longer fit for purpose.
The next stage of this piece of work is developing a plan of improvements to take forward the recommendations for both the refurbishment and remodelling of accommodation and the replacement of existing sheltered / older person housing that is no longer fit for purpose and meets the needs for older people in the future.
Earlier this year Welwyn Hatfield became the latest borough to create a Dementia Action Alliance (DAA). The alliance is made up of a group of organisations who have joined together with the aim of building a dementia friendly community, and making Welwyn Hatfield a better place to live for people with dementia and their carers.
The alliance consists of organisations such as Hertfordshire's Police, Fire & Rescue, Age UK and Public Health England to name but a few.