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17 July 2013

CHC comments on Home Adaptations Report

The Community Housing Cymru Group today welcomes the recommendations into the inquiry on home adaptations by the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee. We hope these recommendations will help further improve the adaptations system and be more effective for those needing adaptations to live more independently at home.

Sioned Hughes, Director of Policy and Regeneration said: 'We welcome the recommendation to standardise adaptations across tenure and the possibility of introducing a single point of entry to the system within each local authority area. In our written evidence we emphasised the need for this and highlighted the difficulities people who needed to use the system face including not knowing who to turn to for help. We believe this has the potential to simplify the process for tenants and home owners but because our members often have a very quick turn around time for adaptations, it is vital that any standardisation improves service delivery and doesn’t affect services we are already providing.'

The report also recommends that the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme (RRAP) is made available across all ages and tenures including social housing tenants. Currently only older home owners benefit from the RAAP and the CHC Group believes that the value which is achieved through the RRAP programme is well documented and any extension can only be beneficial, not only for individuals but for other service providers in the public sector (e.g. health and social care budgets). In addition to this the findings state that Welsh Government should continue to fund and explore the possibility of extending the Independent Living Grant programme, which would mean thousands more people could remain living independently and safely in their own home.

As we’re mid way through Health & Housing Week, we welcome the recommendation that the Welsh Government should explore whether contributions from health and social care budgets to home adaptations are appropriate, so as to improve outcomes for patients. Health & Housing Week is about highlighting the preventative role housing plays, saving thousands of pounds to health and social care budgets in the long run, and we are pleased that the committee can also see the value in investing in the preventative agenda.

Finally, we welcome the recommendation that the Welsh Government should continue to keep the impact of welfare reform on social housing under review. In so doing, the Welsh Government should remind Local Authorities to make appropriate use of discretionary housing payments to help tenants living in adapted housing. We highlighted this in our written evidence and stated that many people who were underoccupying their property have had a previous physical adaptation grant (‘PAG’) or were living in a purpose built property.

You can read the final report here.