Essex County Council is committed to working in collaboration with the 12 district housing authorities as well as registered providers, with Health and other partners to enable the development of specialist accommodation to meet need, make best use of existing provision as well as influencing new housing developments to ensure housing, communities and infrastructure are inclusive and accessible for all and enable people to age well.
People have told us that they want to live as independently as possible and to feel part of a local community. Suitable accommodation is a key enabler to realising this aspiration.
To increase and enable independence requires the right accommodation, with the right care and support, at the right time to house and support people at all stages of life irrespective of need and any disability or impairment they may be living with.
Adult Social Care’s role in housing and accommodation:
- Ensuring quality, options and best value from commissioned arrangements
- Providing information on accommodation options and how to access them
- Supporting individuals and families to think ahead about their accommodation needs
- Understanding local needs and demand for different types of specialist accommodation
- Working with partners to deliver/commission according to current and projected demand
- Developing in county provision for people with the most complex needs
- Development of specialist supported living schemes for adults with complex learning disabilities and autism which enables adults to have their own home with 24/7 care and support available on site
- Working to understand the accommodation needs of young people who will be transitioning from children's care services to adult's care services
- Promoting the benefits of equipment and technology and developing initiatives to enable independent living such as Essex Shared Lives
- Ensuring quality across providers including progressive approaches and enablement for individuals
- Ensuring the best use of specialist accommodation and that the right care and support is in place to meet need
- Influencing and facilitating role to ensure that new developments of both specialist and general needs housing are inclusive and accessible for all, of a high quality and in the right locations to meet need
- Influencing and facilitating role to make best use of disabled facilities grants for aids and adaptations to people’s homes
The current COVID impact highlighted is:
- Providers reported positive outcomes in relation to recruitment during the first and second national lockdowns but they are now experiencing challenges around retention and recruitment and with staff morale and mental wellbeing.
- There is no specific evidence to show that extra care and supported living placements have been impacted like our residential care market. There have been a few outbreaks reported in schemes. The number of referrals into schemes had reduced at the height of the pandemic but is now increasing again.
- In some cases, the development of new schemes had been delayed but are now picking up pace again, but still lags behind demand.
Our current area of focus is:
- Working with Essex Housing, providers and other partners to inform and shape development plans, to ensure inclusive communities and accommodation options suitable for older people and people with disabilities
- Joint working with district housing authorities and other housing providers, including in the private sector, to ensure the right accommodation pathways are in place, in particular to enable timely access to general needs move on accommodation
- Development of specialist supported living schemes for adults with complex learning disabilities and autism
- Development of new extra care schemes primarily for older people
- Making best use of disabled facilities grants to enable people to remain living in their home where appropriate
- Completion of needs and demand analysis to inform development of new supported living schemes and to support the development of ASC accommodation strategies
Current market risks:
- ECC has primarily an influencing and enabling role in the provision of specialist or general needs housing. Joint working with the 12 district housing authorities and housing providers is essential.
- Development of specialist housing, particularly larger extra care schemes, in the current economic climate can be particularly challenging with a decreasing number of specialist developers and developers being more risk adverse.
- Access to general needs housing to enable adults to move on from supported living schemes continues to be a key challenge and can impede an individual’s ability to maximise their independence as well as impeding the ability to make best use of supported living schemes.