The Housing Spectrum

19th September 2016

This piece has been inspired by #housingday which aims to celebrate the positive impact of social housing on thousands of people across the UK.

To help you support your young person with possible housing decisions, My Family, Our Needs runs through the different types of housing that may be suitable for young people and their families.

Residential care

Residential care is a form of regulated group living where all accommodation, meals, personal care and social needs are catered for. 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.

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.

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.

Shared Lives

Shared Lives is for adults over the age of 18 who require care, support and accommodation. It is regulated. 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.

Supported Living

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

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 usually owned by housing associations, charities and private organisations. Large providers can alert people to the nearest vacancy through an enquiry system. Rent is paid to the landlord and regulated support is arranged separately.

Social Housing

Housing associations and councils provide social 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.

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, look at for more information.

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 (joint investment 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 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’.

Useful information

  • It is important to seek independent legal and financial advice where necessary. Committing to a contract for your housing is a big decision and it’s important to be fully informed.
  • Care and support is regulated by the Care Quality Commission

Mark McGoogan MRICS is an independent consultant and chartered surveyor. He has over 20 years’ experience successfully navigating the housing systems in the public, private and independent sectors.

This article was originally published in Progress magazine in January 2014 and has been adapted for My Family, Our Needs.

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