Supported housing and care homes

Information on Housing Executive services, supported or sheltered housing in your area, the Supporting People Programme and care homes.

Housing options

The Housing Executive can tell you about its services and supported or sheltered housing in your area.

Sheltered accommodation

Sheltered accommodation has generally been built for older people and people with a disability. It allows residents to be independent for as long as possible, while giving them contact with support staff and others so they have help when needed. 

Residents are independent. They are free to come and go and have visitors as they wish, so long as nuisance is not caused to other tenants of the scheme.

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

The accommodation is usually self-contained apartments or bungalows. They often have an alarm call system and a warden who visits regularly or lives on the premises.

Facilities and services

Most sheltered schemes provide:

  • self contained accommodation (apartment or bungalow)
  • central heating
  • scheme supervisor service
  • 24-hour call centre support
  • communal rooms for social use
  • a laundry room
  • a guest room for friends or relatives
  • landscaped gardens

Housing association accommodation

A housing association is an independent, not-for-profit social business. It provides homes and support for people in housing need, as well as key community services.

Housing Executive homes

The Housing Executive has a stock of adapted properties to meet specific needs. Whenever possible it tries to let these properties to people who need them after assessment from an occupational therapist.

For more information about adaptations, visit the Housing Executive website.

Moving house

If your current property no longer suits your needs, you may decide to move to a more suitable home. If you privately rent or you live in a Housing Executive home, you may be offered a transfer or re-housing.

You may be able to stay in your current home by making some adaptations or installing equipment.

Supporting People programme

Supporting People provides housing support to help vulnerable people who may need personal or medical care, live as independently as possible in the community. 

It aims to help:

  • homeless people
  • people with a learning disability
  • people with mental health issues
  • older people
  • women at risk of domestic violence
  • young people at risk
  • people with drug or alcohol use problems
  • offenders or people at risk of offending
  • other vulnerable people

Supporting People services can be provided by:

  • a landlord (for example, a housing association or the Housing Executive)
  • a voluntary organisation which manages accommodation (for example, supported housing or a temporary hostel)
  • other agencies which provide support in the home (for example, a Health and Social Services Trust)

Support available

The support available includes:

  • general counselling and support, including befriending services
  • help with the security of the accommodation
  • advice or help in personal budgeting and debt counselling
  • help to claim benefits or maximise income
  • life skills training in maintaining the building

Accessing housing support services

Housing support services may be available within your own home. Your local Housing Executive office will be able to provide information on the services available within your area.

If you wish to move to specialist accommodation where support is provided, you should contact your landlord or local Housing Executive office to complete a housing application or housing transfer form.

Cost of housing support services

If you are eligible for either full or partial Housing Benefit you will have the cost of your housing support services paid for you. If you are in temporary accommodation, such as a homeless hostel or foyer accommodation, the support services will be provided free of charge no matter what your income or any changes to it.

If you don't currently receive Housing Benefit you should consider submitting an application. Entitlement to any Housing Benefit, no matter how small, will mean your full support costs will be paid for. Service providers should offer you help if you want to apply for Housing Benefit.

More information

Further information is available from the Housing Executive.

Care homes

You may need a level of support that cannot be provided in your own home. In this case, a care home may be the ideal choice.

Choosing a care home

Your local Health Trust's social services department can provide information about what services are available and how to get them.

You have the right to choose your care home. Finding one that is right for you might take some time. You should make sure the care home you choose has the facilities, equipment and staff with the right training to meet your needs.

Each Trust sets amounts they normally pay for someone with your assessed needs. If you want to move into a care home that is more expensive, you may need to pay the difference.

Types of care home

There are different types of care homes. Some offer full time nursing care, others support people with a specific disability or medical need.

If you are currently receiving treatment on a regular basis from a qualified nurse, you may need a care home with nursing. Your district nurse or hospital staff will be able to help you decide.

Covering the cost

Care homes providing services and facilities for particular disabilities can be expensive.

Health and care professionals will assess your needs and help you find a care home that meets those needs.

They will then do a financial assessment to work out how much you can afford to contribute towards the costs. If you have over £23,250 in capital you will be assessed as being able to meet the full cost of your care.

Temporary stays in a care home

You might choose a temporary stay in a care home to recover from an illness or as a break for you and your carer.

You should also be able to stay on a temporary basis for a trial period to see if the care home suits you. Some people also go to care homes for day care.

Care homes and benefits

Moving into a care home permanently or for a short time can affect the benefits you receive. Your benefits will usually form part of your contribution to your care home fees so it is important to make sure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to.

Care homes and hospital

Some people move to a care home directly from hospital, perhaps if they are newly disabled. You cannot be discharged into a care home against your will and you have the right to choose your care home. A hospital stay may become necessary while you live in a care home.

Residential care and nursing home standards

Residential care and nursing homes are overseen by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) which is responsible for monitoring the standards of private, voluntary and Trust homes.

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