People across the Somerset are being invited to share their views on potential changes to the way support is provided to sheltered housing residents.
Somerset County Council contributes funding to the sheltered housing providers to provide sheltered housing tenants with day-to-day support. Contracts come to an end in October and the authority is seeking views on proposals to invest in providing the support through its Community Connect arrangements.
Under the proposals, support would be available to everyone living in Somerset and not just those living in sheltered housing. Somerset County Council feels this change of approach will make services more equitable across the County and will enable more people to be able to access support when they need it.
This will mean that sheltered housing residents will still be able to access support although it may be delivered in a different way.
The kind of support available to people in sheltered housing can include assisting with letters or correspondence, helping with the process of paying bills or managing the household budget.
They can also help to arrange appointments and also with shopping or meals. Some residents don’t need this support on a regular basis, but may benefit from a visit to check all is well and to see if any help is needed.
The current contracts cover 3,500 sheltered housing tenants in Somerset, though the County Council currently only supports those with higher needs – around 12 per cent of sheltered housing residents. A much larger number of people have similar needs, but don’t get any support because they own their own homes or live in other types of rented housing.
Through investing into Somerset Community Connect, Somerset County Council can ensure that support is available to anyone irrelevant of where they live.
Community Connect can help people in a number of ways that includes advice on local services, support to stay independent and information on how to get involved with the local community.
The public consultation will begin on 3 April and will remain open until 30 May.
Residents will be able to submit their views online, and also review guidance documents at www.somerset.gov.uk/shelteredhousingconsultation
Several drop-in events are also being held for those who would like to discuss the proposals with council officers.
Councillor David Huxtable, Cabinet Members for Adult Social Care, said: “We want as many people as possible to get the support they need to live independent lives.
“Those who need support will continue to get it and these proposals are about doing that as fairly as possible and making it available to others. At the moment we fund support for a small proportion of those living in sheltered housing and we want that support to be available to more people in the most cost effective way.
“Before any decisions are made it’s important that we hear from anyone who has an interest in these potential changes, particularly those who are currently receiving support.”
Services not affected by this consultation include any emergency alarm system, and the residents Housing Management service as these are supplied by the landlord of the property.