The Housing Executive can tell you about its services and supported or sheltered housing in your area.
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. They will usually hold a secure tenancy, though 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 have:
- 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 offers 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.
If your 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.
The Supporting People programme
The Supporting People grant funds housing support services to help people live as independently as possible in the community. It aims to help:
- homeless people
- people with a learning disability
- people with poor mental health
- people with a physical or sensory disability
- older people
- women at risk of domestic violence
- young people leaving care
- people with drug or alcohol use problems
- offenders or people at risk of offending
Types of Supporting People housing support services include:
- short-term floating support to help people that need housing related support to maintain independence in their own home
- short-term accommodation based support to help people who need housing support and who are also in housing need, for example support that is provided through hostels or refuges
- longer-term support that allows people to sustain a home, for example where someone has a tenancy, support can help maintain their tenancy
Charges for housing support services
Charges depend on the type of housing support service accessed. There is no charge for short-term services through floating support, homeless hostels or refuges.
Charges for long term services are dependent on personal circumstances. Entitlement to Housing Benefit means that your full support costs will be paid directly to your service provider. However, if you do not have entitlement to Housing Benefit you will need to pay for the cost of your long term service.
Accessing Supporting People services
If you or someone you know may be in need of housing related support you can contact a social worker or health professional, housing manager (Housing Association or local Housing Executive office) or housing support service provider directly.
More information is available from the Housing Executive:
Cost of housing support services
If you qualify 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 given free of charge no matter what your income or any changes to it.
If you don't receive Housing Benefit you should consider sending 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.
Further information is available from the Housing Executive.
You may need a level of support that cannot be given 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 give you 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 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 with 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). RQIA is responsible for monitoring the standards of private, voluntary and Trust homes.