29 January 2016
Social Development Minister, Lord Morrow MLA and Health Minister, Simon Hamilton MLA have jointly launched a consultation on housing adaptations.
Housing adaptations are changes that are made to the home of a person with a disability to make it suitable for their needs and promote independent living. Adaptations are undertaken by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), Housing Associations and Health and Social Care Trusts and can range from the re-siting of electrical sockets and cupboards to the installation of level access showers or building an extension.
This consultation invites views on the Housing Adaptations Final Report and Action Plan which includes recommendations on how the Departments, agencies and others can better collaborate with each other, use resources more effectively, and deliver better services.
This consultation is being co-ordinated by the NIHE on behalf of the Department for Social Development (DSD) and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS). The consultation runs until 19 April 2016.
Social Development Minister Morrow said: “Housing adaptations help people with disabilities to remain at home and enhance their much valued independence and are an excellent example of how Government departments are working together to further improve services for the people of Northern Ireland. It is vital that the Action Plan is well informed by those who need these services for themselves or a loved one, now or in the future. I would urge people to make their views known by responding to this consultation.”
The Final Report and Action Plan have been informed by public responses to an earlier consultation into the first Inter-Departmental Review Report, conducted in 2013. Significant work with people with disabilities, occupational therapists, housing designers and providers has been undertaken since the original consultation and this has resulted in some actions, where there was broad support, having already been progressed. This includes, for example, the development of an Adaptations Design Communications Toolkit which delivers across a series of design standards and governance recommendations contained in the review.
Health Minister Simon Hamilton added: “I welcome the launch of this joint consultation. Although the majority of disabled people live at home quite independently, there can be times when adaptations to their home can make life more comfortable and less difficult. These can be small changes like replacing a bath with a shower, or something more complex like an extension – but they all make a difference to the quality of life for someone living at home.
“My Department’s Transforming Your Care strategy aims to keep people living in their own homes for as long as possible and this consultation will go some way to making it possible. I encourage everyone with an interest in this area, to respond to this consultation.”
Fold Housing Association welcomes the consultation. Richard Harper, Manager, Fold Staying Put said, "Fold’s Home Adaption Staying Put service provides free practical support and advice (Government Funded) for disabled and/or elderly people applying for a Northern Ireland Housing Executive Disabled Facilities Grant for a disabled home adaptation. Our Housing Advisors and Technical Advisors assist hundreds of people each year making disabled facility grant applications by providing technical advice and support throughout the home adaptations process. Making changes to your home can be stressful and is often new territority for our customers. We aim to take away that stress and worry through our comprehensive service. At Fold, the Staying Put team:
• Complete over 900 visits to new clients
• Submit over 500 grant applications ready for NIHE approval
• Assist in the satisfactory completion of over 500 disabled grant adaptations
• Remain in close contact with clients throughout the process."
To find out more about Fold's Home Adaption Staying Put Service visit www.foldgroup.co.uk/stayingput
The consultation document can be downloaded from the NIHE website at http://www.nihe.gov.uk/index/corporate/consultation.htm and queries/responses can be submitted:
By email to: Housing.firstname.lastname@example.org
By telephone on: 02890 318561.
By text relay on: 18001 02890 318561.
By post to:
NIHE Housing Adaptations Policy Unit
Fifth Floor, Housing Centre
2 Adelaide St