Foundations launches new guidance on delivering better home adaptations in social housing
Too many social housing tenants are facing delay and frustration with obtaining home adaptations, according to a new report by Foundations, the national body for Home Improvement Agencies and and DFG.
Foundations provides support to over 200 not-for-profit home improvement and handyperson service providers in England who cover more than 80 per cent of local authority areas.
Its report, Housing Associations and Home Adaptations: Finding Ways to Say Yes, provides recommendations for housing associations, local authorities, central government, and the Housing Regulator to sort out the confusion about funding and improve the speed and effectiveness of home adaptations delivery.
Paul Smith, Director of Foundations, commented: “Following the publication of the Independent Review of DFG in 2018 we wanted to take a deeper dive into the workings of adaptations for social housing tenants.
“We knew that the housing world had changed significantly from the previous guidance in 2008 and that too many tenants were facing delay and frustration.”
The report provides practical solutions to put disabled and older tenants at the heart of decision making, an inclusive approach to services, and for home adaptations to be part of the new customer-focused inspection regime.
The research identifies good practice, particularly in Large Scale Voluntary Transfers (LSVTs) that control their own adaptations budgets, those fully engaged with their disabled and older tenants, or where there are effective partnership arrangements.
It explored issues in funding and delivery, including splits in legal responsibility, a confusing pattern of funding, a post code lottery in the type of services provided, complex customer journeys and frustration for staff in local authorities and associations.
Rather than saying ‘yes’ to adaptations, the report found that barriers are often placed in the way and adaptations may be refused, especially in general needs properties. They may also be removed unnecessarily when tenancies change.
The Foundations report found that moving home is not easy if a home is unsuitable or not possible to adapt, with not enough accessible homes are being built and adapted homes are not recycled effectively.
Asset management databases are sometimes incomplete, the report found, with few accessible housing registers, void times found to be too short, and not enough support to match people to properties or provide help with moving.
Home adaptations lack importance, the research found, although disabled tenants form a substantial part of housing association populations, most associations see adapting homes as a minor operational issue. It is not part of a strategic plan to make the stock work for everyone.
There is a lack of disabled people working in the sector. A National Housing Federation Survey in 2021 showed that disabled people are under-represented as staff members, not visible as leaders in the sector, and only 4.8 per cent of board members were identified as disabled.
In December 2021, Foundations celebrated the achievements of council teams, charities and inspirational frontline staff in supporting independent living in organising the National Healthy Housing Awards.https://thiis.co.uk/foundations-launches-new-guidance-on-delivering-better-home-adaptations-in-social-housing/https://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/25777.jpghttps://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/25777-150x150.jpgGovernment & Local AuthoritiesHousingNewsroomReports & ResearchSector NewsThird Sectoraccessible,DFG,Foundations,home adaptations,social housing,tenantsToo many social housing tenants are facing delay and frustration with obtaining home adaptations, according to a new report by Foundations, the national body for Home Improvement Agencies and and DFG. Foundations provides support to over 200 not-for-profit home improvement and handyperson service providers in England who cover more than...Liane McIvorLiane McIvorliane@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine