PROPOSALS to update a scheme for people who need to make adaptations to their homes are now out for consultation.
The Council is proposing to revise the policy which delivers housing assistance and disabled adaptations which help people live independently and safely in their own homes for longer.
Residents are being invited to comment on the proposed changes to the Private Sector Renewal & Disabled Adaptations Policy during a four-week consultation.
People can already apply for funding from the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) to make alterations to their private sector homes, such as the installation of stair lifts or accessible showers.
The aim of the updated policy is to provide a more responsive and tailored approach which will help delay residents being admitted to hospital or moved to residential or nursing homes.
The measures should help care and support services to actively promote wellbeing and independence at home and encourage early intervention to prevent decisions being made at crisis point.
Carrying out adaptations can also significantly reduce the cost of care packages and the longer-term costs of hospital or nursing home stays.
Cllr John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Housing, said:
“Making appropriate adaptations to homes is a recognised way of improving the health and wellbeing of older people and adults and children with disabilities.
“Home adaptations can prevent falls, reduce hospital admissions, lessen dependence on care, avoid the need to move into residential care and significantly improve the quality of life and wellbeing for individuals, their families and carers.
“The grants available from the Council allow households to make these essential improvements to their homes. The aim of the proposed changes to the Private Sector Renewals and Disabled Adaptations policy is to provide a service which is more flexible and responsive to the needs of the individual.”
The changes to the draft policy include the introduction of a new Health & Wellbeing at Home Grant, discretionary funds to cover professional fees and temporary accommodation costs, an extended relocation grant and top-up funding for more costly adaptations.
The costs will be met by Reading’s £1.055m share of government funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant and further capital funding.
The consultation has now started and can be found at: www.reading.gov.uk/disabledadaptations. The final date for submissions is 7th February.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Tenants living in social housing may also apply for disabled adaptations to be made to their homes through the Council’s Housing team.
ADAPTATIONS to the Carter’s family home has helped daughter Zoe enjoy a much higher degree of independence.
Parents Alice and David Carter arranged the improvements to their bathroom with the help of the Council and the Disabled Facilities Grant.
Eleven-year-old Zoe, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and uses a wheelchair, previously had very little independence when using the bathroom.
Adaptations were made to change the layout and install an adjustable wash basin so she can now use the bathroom with much less help.
Automatic doors have also been installed which allows Zoe to move from room to room through the previously widened doorways.
Mrs Carter said: “It’s pretty limited what Zoe can do for herself but now she can get around the house, open the doors and go into the bathroom without having to ask for help.
“There are so many houses which aren’t suitable for disabled people so it’s really important to be able to make these adaptations.
“It can take some time to arrange the works but the Council does manage a lot of that process which is very helpful and its worthwhile to have it done as it makes a huge difference.”