£60 million housing fund to help older and disabled Londoners

The investment forms a key part of the next stage of the Mayor’s ‘Housing Covenant’, which will improve Londoners’ housing options while boosting jobs and growth in London’s construction industry. 

To help those with specific housing needs to live more independently and to help stimulate the specialised housing market, the Mayor is inviting bids for funding from a range of organisations that champion innovative design, accessibility and new technology. It is envisaged that the fund could help around 1,500 older and disabled Londoners.

The Mayor is keen to work in partnership with public land owners, particularly NHS trusts, to help bring forward land for development of specialised accommodation to help reduce the burden on stretched health and care budgets. Proposals will be reviewed by a specialist panel that will feature representation from leading housing experts such as Crossbench Peer Lord Best of Godmanstone, who chaired Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (HAPPI), and Sam Mauger, Chief Executive of Age UK London.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Quality housing for older and disabled Londoners is in short supply and there is a pressing need to meet increasing demand. I am determined that this fund helps to deliver high quality homes that people want to live in and which reflect the diversity of their needs and aspirations. By allowing people to move to well designed, accessible homes, it will also help to give older and disabled Londoners renewed independence and dignity. I’d like to see some truly innovative proposals coming forward, ones that set new standards in design and that provide a benchmark for how this type of housing should be delivered."  

Minister of State for Care Services, Norman Lamb MP, said: “Most people want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible, and as the population ages more and more of us will need housing that supports us. Our £300 million fund will help create thousands of homes, providing people with more choice and an alternative to residential care.”

Samantha Mauger, Chief Executive of Age UK London, said: “Age UK London is delighted that the GLA will be supporting initiatives to provide suitable housing options for older Londoners that reflect their diverse needs and cultures – something that we urged the Mayor of London to do in our Older People’s Manifesto. Issues such as eliminating fuel poverty, providing accessibility, as well as homes that can accommodate aid and adaptations are crucial to the wellbeing of older Londoners. We look forward to seeing the development of this exciting programme.”

The development of specially designed housing of this kind can also give people the option to downsize from a larger home to a more manageable property, better suited to their individual needs.

In turn this will improve the wider housing market by freeing up larger properties, helping to tackle the blight of overcrowding and providing more homes for working families.

“We are delighted to hear news of Boris Johnson’s £60m fund to improve the nation’s retirement property sector. Retired people in London and indeed the UK need someone to champion them and equally, the acute shortage of retirement property for sale or rent in the UK is a major issue that needs tackling.
 
By 2030, one in three people in the UK will be over 55 – and as things stand, the supply of appropriate housing to accommodate this ageing population needs to rise by over 70% in the next 20 years. There are very few specialist homes with support services available to meet the needs of the retired – just 533,000 and much of it in the social rented space. There is also very little mid-range housing available to rent privately or buy and a huge shortage of bungalows, which suit people with mobility issues.
 
It is predicted that the new fund will help approximately 1,500 older and disabled people in London – this is fabulous news. Let ‘s hope this is just the tip of the iceberg and the start of new investment into the retirement market and we will see many more older people being helped and given access to high quality homes for retirement not just in London but across the UK.”

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