Guide to supported housing schemes for over 50s

If you are over 50 and have a disability or need extra support that cannot be provided in your current home, there are a range of options that could improve your quality of life without losing your independence or going into a full-time care home.

Sheltered housing option

One way of keeping your independence as long as possible while as the same time ensuring you can access help when needed is to move into sheltered housing.

Sheltered accommodation usually includes a group of flats or bungalows especially built and designed for older people or people with disabilities, with support provided on site. 

Contact with other tenants can offer an active social life as you get older.

Tenants of sheltered accommodation are independent, free to come and go and have visitors as they wish, provided they don't cause a nuisance to other tenants of the scheme.

Residents will usually hold a secure tenancy although some are leaseholders or owners.

Sheltered housing providers

There are 18 housing associations who provide over 10,000 sheltered flats or bungalows for older people or people with disabilities across Northern Ireland.

Facilities and services

Most sheltered schemes provide the following facilities and services:

    •          Self-contained accommodation - apartment or bungalow
    •          central heating
    •          scheme supervisor service
    •          24 hour call centre support
    •          communal rooms for social use
    •          laundry room
    •          guest room for friends or relatives
    •          landscaped gardens
  •          Supported housing and care homes

How to apply

You need to contact the Housing Executive who will assess your housing need for sheltered or specialist housing and can assist with your options.

Currently there is a waiting list for sheltered accommodation. When there is a vacancy in a sheltered scheme, the property is allocated to the person on the waiting list who is in most need of the available accommodation.

Some people may need extra care and support in a specialist housing scheme due to special circumstances.

Means test

The Housing Executive can carry out a means test to see if you are eligible for help for rent, rates and service charge.  You will be entitled to have the support charge covered in full if you receive Housing Benefit.

Further information is available from the Housing Executive:

Costs

Health, mobility and finances will affect the decisions you make about your housing arrangements.

Most sheltered housing has a weekly rent made up of the following charges:

• rent

• rates

• heating (If applicable)

• service charge

• support charge 

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