Solihull Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Board will discuss the introduction of a new Housing Assistance Policy at its meeting on Thursday 22 July.
The new policy could give the Council more flexibility in the use of funding to pay for housing adaptations to enable children and adults with care and support needs to stay in their own home and live independently for longer.
The funding, known as the Disabled Facilities Grant, enables adaptations such as widening doors and installing ramps for wheelchair access, adapting a current bathroom or bedroom or providing the means to access a garden safely. Homeowners, private tenants and parents/guardians of disabled children can apply for a grant if the disabled person is living in the property.
Cllr Tony Dicicco, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, explains why the new policy is needed. “We want to help people stay in their homes for longer as well as increasing the amount of suitable accommodation for older and disabled people in the borough and improve the health and wellbeing of our residents. I look forward to hearing the views of our scrutiny board on this important new policy next week. We will also be seeking feedback from residents and other stakeholders through a public consultation which will start by the end of July.
He continues: “This proposed policy would allow the Council to use the funding in more flexible ways. For example, it would introduce new powers so we could fund adaptations beyond the current limit of £30,000 in defined circumstances, widen eligibility to include those in more difficult financial circumstances and make lower level adaptations easier such as lighting or safer property access.”
If approved, the new policy, being developed jointly by Solihull Council and Solihull Community Housing, could come into force as soon as late autumn 2021. It would set out the mandatory and discretionary assistance that the Council could offer including conditions and eligibility criteria.