Private Sector Housing Assistance Policy
Introduction and Background
1.0 Introduction and Background
The Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is a mandatory grant, provided under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 ('The 96 Act’), towards the cost of eligible works necessary to support people of all ages and most tenures (adaptions to council owned housing are provided via a different funding stream) with the aim to assist them to live independently and safely in their own homes. Local Authorities have a statutory duty to provide mandatory DFGs to applicants who qualify.
DFGs are mandatory grants and are available to disabled adults and children when works to adapt their home are judged necessary and appropriate to meet their needs and when it is reasonable and practicable to carry them out having regard the age and condition of the dwelling.
DFGs for adults are generally subject to a test of financial resources which means that the applicant’s income and savings have to be assessed. DFG’s for children are not means tested.
Prior to agreement of a DFG an Occupational Therapist (OT) or other suitably qualified person with signoff by an Occupational Therapist will assess whether any works are necessary, but the statutory responsibility for providing the DFG is with the council. The Council is given a sum of money each year by the Government, which is specifically to be used for providing grants to help disabled people to live more independently in their own homes.
The Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002 (RRO) gives local housing authorities the power to adopt discretionary policies with regard to housing interventions to further promote independent living and wellbeing.
The aim of this policy is to ensure that residents in Welwyn Hatfield receive the necessary assistance to ‘help them live in their own homes, safely and with dignity with the right adaptation when they need it’.
This policy is in two parts: Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants – this sets out the mandatory legal framework for DFGs in accordance with the 96 Act including eligibility criteria and the prescribed means test assessment.
Discretionary Assistance– this sets out the councils’ policy to provide discretionary interventions to promote independent living and wellbeing. The Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002 (RRO) and latterly the Better Care Fund enable councils to support the wider prevention agenda of housing, social care and health authorities.
The Private Sector Housing Assistance Policy contributes towards the council’s commitment ‘we will provide high quality housing, thriving neighbourhoods and sustainable communities.
1.1 General Expectations
The councils’ decision making will take into account the legislative requirements of providing works that are ‘necessary and appropriate’ to meet the needs of the applicants and are ‘reasonable and practicable' in their nature whilst following some specific expectations and presumptions:
- Works should properly and fully meet the assessed needs of the disabled occupier. Grants that only partially meet those needs will only be considered in exceptional cases.
- Works funded by means of DFG will be the simplest and most cost-effective adaptations that will meet the client’s assessed needs. This will include ‘making-good’ any works, such as painting or adapting floor coverings to disturbed areas.
- Wherever the council judges it to be a practicable and realistic option, the rearrangement and/or change of use of existing rooms will be the preferred solution and will take precedence over the construction of extensions.
- Applications for grant aided work may be considered on a case by case basis where relevant works have started but not been completed.
- Applications for a grant will not normally be considered if the relevant works have already been completed.