The Government will build new homes to support vulnerable people living independently, it has been announced.
An extra £76m a year will flow into The Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund (CASSH). The fund was first introduced in 2012 and has since been extended until 2021.
Older people and people with physical or mental health problems will be given the opportunity to live in easy-to-access homes, specifically designed for those who need additional support to live independently.
Some of the features in the new homes, which will be built over the next three years, include:
- An individual home with its own front door
- The possibility to install equipment or assistive technology
- Easy access to a GP or other health services
- Communal areas for housing for older people.
Around 3,300 specially designed new homes have been built since the introduction of CASSH six years ago.
The Government said local authorities and housing developers can now apply for the funding on a rolling basis, until all of it has been allocated for the year.
Minister for care Caroline Dinenage said: ‘No one should have to go into a residential home or get stuck in hospital because of a lack of specialised housing adapted to suit their needs.
This programme provides a vital lifeline for some of the most vulnerable people in society to live their own lives in a home that works for them.’
She added that the Government wants the fund to be ‘used to its maximum potential so more homes can be created’, so that more people can live independently – which is something that will benefit them and carers alike.
A ‘whole-system approach’
Commenting on the announcement, Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network at the NHS Confederation, said the current lack of supported housing means people who could be cared for in their community end up occupying hospital beds.
He added: ‘Long-term cuts to social care have also led to more pressure on bed numbers as the services designed to keep people healthy are simply inadequate.’
The Local Government Association estimates that the funding gap for adult social care is likely to exceed £3.5bn by 2025.
Mr Duggan said their members are doing ‘some fantastic work both in prevention and treating people with mental health problems’ with the limited resources they have.
He concluded: ‘The long-term NHS investment plan is the perfect opportunity to put this right – it is vital that mental health gets its fair share of this funding.’