Local authorities have been invited to apply for share of the government’s £25 million housing and technology fund for people with learning disabilities.
The funding aims to enable the creation of a range of housing and technology options for people with learning disabilities, for example, floor sensors to monitor for falls or finger-print technology to make access as easy as possible for residents.
Local authorities, working with local community partners such as voluntary organisations, have until October 28 to apply for a share of the funds.
The main aims of the fund are to:
• Use new technologies to improve and adapt existing accommodation, enabling people to remain living independently
• Prevent unnecessary in-patient admissions
• Provide solutions for people who require urgent housing and are at risk of entering inappropriate services like hospital or residential care
• Encourage community-based solutions that promote independence and choice over housing
• Save money and resources – specially adapted housing reduces the need for costly hands-on care.
David Mowat, Minister for Community Health and Care, said: “The government is determined to improve the life chances of people with learning disabilities, and to make sure they never feel excluded from society. We want to harness all the benefits of technology to help achieve this.
“I hope this investment of £25 million will inspire many exciting and innovative projects which will make a hugely positive difference to people’s lives.”
Only 15% of adults with learning disabilities have a secure long-term tenancy or their own home. The fund will enable more people to live as independently as possible with the best care and support, greatly improving their quality of life.
Alicia Wood, chief executive of Learning Disability England, welcomed the fund. “We know that a lack of housing choices for people with learning disabilities is only partly down to the need for capital, and what stops people and their families getting the solutions they want is a lack of creative thinking,” she said.
“We are particularly pleased that the fund is being used to promote person-centred solutions and create new models of housing and support that give people with learning disabilities a real stake in their communities.”
This £25 million fund builds on £20 million already earmarked by NHS England as part of its Transforming Care programme. This will be used for schemes across the country from April 2016 to March 2017, including new housing and services.