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Housing for people with disabilities

It is important to find a home that meets your child’s needs and enables them to live an independent life. To help you support your young person with possible housing decisions, we run through the different types of housing for people with disabilities that may be suitable and where you can find out more.

Living at home

Living at home, as the name suggests, is a young person remaining in the family home with their parents or carers. It suits some people but not everybody. Thinking about the level of support your child needs will be important here. If they need more support than can be given within the family home, you will need to get extra support through the community. Social services can carry out a needs assessment for this.

Home adaptations

Your child may be happy where they are living but it needs to be made more accessible. Whether its minor adaptations or more major work with specialist equipment required, there are lots of options available. Our Directory has details of companies who can help with home adaptations.

Financial help may be available for disabled young people to access these adaptations. This could include support from charities and help from local Home Improvement Agencies. You can also apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant. You can use this grant against the cost of creating a more accessible space, for example installing ramps, widening doors etc.

The grant depends on a person’s household income and household savings of over £6,000.

For disabled children under 18, it is possible to receive a grant that does not take parents’ income into account. Do not start work on a property until the council approves your application, as you may not receive a grant if you do. Apply for the Disabled Facilities Grant via your local council.

Supported living

With supported living, young people have choice and control over their life, in addition to being able to access regulated care and support. They have their own space and a legally binding tenancy agreement. They also have a responsibility as a tenant and can receive care and support separately to the tenancy.

Individuals are responsible for the cost of living (including bills) which is usually paid for by the benefits they receive, additionally, this can be topped up with any wages they earn through employment.

Supported living arrangements can be in a variety of different settings, for example:

  • With another person or others that they have chosen to live with in shared accommodation e.g. a shared house in which they all contribute to the bills and upkeep of communal areas.
  • On their own in flat/house or bungalow etc.

You can search our Directory for details of supported living schemes.

Specialist supported housing

Specialist supported housing are adapted houses or blocks of flats specifically for people with learning disabilities or mental health conditions. They are suitable for those with the most complex needs who would otherwise be living in residential care. They are usually owned by housing associations, charities and private organisations. You pay rent to the landlord and arrange a support package separately.

How to find SSH?

  • Local authority adult services referral
  • Large providers can alert people to the nearest vacancy through an enquiry system.

Shared Lives

Shared Lives is for adults over the age of 18 who require care, support and accommodation. It is a regulated service. Those on the scheme live with a carer (who has been trained and approved by the organisation providing the arrangement) within that person’s family home. They may learn new skills and aim to become as independent as possible.

Social Housing

Housing associations and councils provide social housing (also known as council housing) to people with disabilities. Local authority housing departments should help the individual to complete the form and subsequently the bid for accommodation if there is a realistic chance the young person can secure a property. Regulated support is arranged and provided separately.

How do councils decide who is eligible for social housing?

Most councils use a points system or banding system based on an individual’s or family’s needs to decide on who they will offer accommodation to. To find out more or make an application, visit the Government website.

Privately rented

Private renting involves renting from an independent landlord. The tenancy agreement will be with them, and the young person. As a tenant, the young person will have many rights. These include living in the property undisturbed. Private landlords charge market rents that can be difficult for people on low wages. Your child may be eligible for housing benefit to help with this.

Family-funded housing

This can come in many guises. Families are approaching landlords directly to rent a house on behalf of their child, and sometimes the landlords are friends or relatives. Alternatively, family carers can purchase a property for their child. However, there are things to consider around rent and it is important to seek advice. Family members must be careful about how they rent a property to their child.

Home ownership (with family)

Families can jointly invest in a property with a housing association, if they can’t afford to buy a property outright, or don’t wish to have additional responsibilities of buy-to-let mortgages. The family’s investment is usually secured and repaid if the property is sold. (Subject to market movement).

Ethical investment

Ethical investing is where someone invests in an ethical investment bond for financial return as well as social good. For example, Golden Lane Housing bought many permanent homes for people with learning disabilities, helping to make a real difference to the housing shortage by offering ethical investment bond paying 4% interest.

Home ownership (mortgage)

Families are increasingly purchasing properties for their adult son or daughter. Those who can put down 25% or more may be able to get a mortgage. The mortgage is in the name of the person with a disability who is responsible for meeting repayments from their income. For those on low earnings, however, this can be difficult. Purchasing a property with a mortgage is a big commitment and independent financial and legal advice must be taken. The mortgage market is constantly changing. Subject to conditions, some owners with disabilities can claim an additional benefit called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

Shared ownership

Since the 1990s a small number of housing associations have adapted the mainstream shared ownership model to enable people with additional needs to become shared owners. Most of the housing associations offering this specialist type of shared ownership also provide additional services, such as repair, maintenance and help with getting the right support to make ownership a success. The additional cost of these services is added to the cost of the rent or service charge to be paid by the shared owner.

Residential care

Residential care is a regulated form of housing for people with disabilities where all accommodation, meals, personal care and social needs are catered for. Deciding to place your child in a residential setting can be tough. However, a good care home should provide someone with personalised, professional care and support whilst giving the individual the chance to live as independently as possible and have a fulfilling and rewarding life.

Search for residential care by location and care type at Care Choices.

Residential colleges

Residential colleges offer a taste of independence through personalised learning and support. They can support young people with a wide range of conditions or disabilities and offer an all-round package of education, regulated support, development and life experiences, whilst living and learning on-site. Finding the right school can also be hard – in this, you are not just choosing an educational establishment, but also a home for your child. The Good Schools Guide offers good advice on what you need to be thinking about when looking for a residential school setting.

Find details of residential schools, in our Directory.

See Housing Articles