Headlines: February 25th, 2010

Councils with responsibilities for adult social care are to get an extra twenty-thousand pounds each to update their Extra Care housing strategies. The Care Services Minister, Phil Hope, said he wanted older people who needed care and support to benefit from new and refreshed local housing strategies promoting dignity, respect and choice.

He has unveiled a 3.5 million pound innovation fund and urged local authorities to ‘act now and act decisively’ to widen the range of housing options for older people and to improve their quality. He said councils would be expected to showcase their strategies to promote good practice.

A new on-line resource will enable councils to exchange ideas and a directory of Extra Care schemes is being developed by the Department of Health. It will hold architects’ plans, key design features and scheme information.

The purpose of Extra Care Housing is to provide good design features alongside personal care. More than 220 million pounds has been invested in the programme since 2004 but there are still only approximately 38,000 homes, about a tenth of the number of retirement housing and also residential care places.

Mr. Hope said innovative houses that met the needs and aspirations of older people were vital to the future of care and support and were at the heart of changes that would define the country’s aging society and ensure more people could live independently in their own homes for longer. “I want to see councils act now and act decisively to improve the quality and range of housing options for older people,” he said.