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 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 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.

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
  • 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 assist 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 enables people to sustain a home, for example where someone have 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 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 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.

More useful links

Home and housing options

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email:

For queries or advice about property valuation, email:

For queries or advice about land registry, email:

For mapping queries, email:

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.