The government has pledged an additional £50 million to local authorities to expedite home adaptations for elderly individuals and those with disabilities, ensuring their continued independence.
This funding initiative aims to assist older and disabled citizens in living more autonomously within their own homes. The £50 million allocation for this year will enable necessary modifications to individuals’ residences. In total, these adaptation grants support approximately 50,000 individuals annually and facilitate faster hospital discharges, thus reducing waiting times.
The allocation of £50 million to local authorities commences today, with the objective of enhancing safety and independence for older and disabled people residing in their homes. This initiative, jointly administered by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, allows eligible individuals of all ages with disabilities to apply to their local authorities for grants to adapt their homes to better suit their needs.
This funding is accessible to homeowners, private renters, and those in social housing. It will be channelled through the Disabled Facilities Grant, supplementing the existing annual allocation of £573 million to local authorities for home improvement services.
Since 2010, nearly half a million home adaptations have been carried out, supported by a substantial £4.8 billion in funding.
Helen Whately, the Minister for Adult Social Care, commented, “For older individuals or those living with disabilities, an appropriately adapted home provides both independence and safety. Living in one’s own home can become untenable after illness or injury without essential changes such as wheelchair ramps, handrails, or a stairlift. This new funding will enable thousands more people to have homes tailored to their needs, and more importantly, at a faster pace. In urgent situations, this fund will empower local authorities to execute smaller-scale adaptations expeditiously.”
She further emphasized the impact on hospital discharges, noting, “Sometimes, all that stands in the way of a patient returning home from the hospital is a simple home adaptation. This is excellent news for patients and hospitals alike. It will result in more individuals recovering at home after a hospital stay and free up more NHS beds for those in need.”
This £50 million allocation is part of a larger £102 million investment over two years, unveiled as part of the Next Steps to Put People at the Heart of Care plan. It aims to equip local authorities with the means to deliver additional services that are adaptable, swift in executing minor adaptations, and supportive of expedited hospital discharge.
Felicity Buchan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, expressed the government’s commitment to ensuring that everyone has access to high-quality, secure, and suitable homes, promoting independent living, especially for individuals leaving hospital care. She stated, “Providing suitable home adaptations, such as wheelchair ramps, handrails, stairlifts, or specialised equipment, ensures that when someone is medically ready for discharge, they have a secure place to return to, thereby freeing up hospital beds for those who require them.”
This initiative is expected to alleviate waiting times, a crucial factor as the health service approaches the winter months when NHS demand typically rises. The Disabled Facilities Grant is just one of several housing support measures available to local authorities to facilitate independent and safe living at home. The government also provides guidance to local authorities to enhance the efficiency of home adaptations and better cater to the needs of older and disabled individuals in their communities.