New housing strategy gets approval to help shape specialist accommodation for vulnerable people in Kirklees

Cabinet members have approved a new draft strategy that will help shape specialist accommodation for children and adults across Kirklees.

The Kirklees Specialist Accommodation Strategy outlines how the council plans to meet the housing needs of vulnerable people up to 2030.

It focuses on appraising the current care and support offer available including care homes, refuges and hospital discharge care to ensure it can meet future demand. As well as engaging with current and potential tenants to find out what they would like and what is currently on offer.

It aims to better develop accommodation for the long term, and drive solutions rather than reacting to demand pressures.

Councillor Cathy Scott, Cabinet Member for Housing and Democracy, said:

“Suitable specialist housing can significantly improve people’s lives, while unsuitable housing can be the source of multiple health and wellbeing issues and costs.

“We recognise the need to develop high quality specialist accommodation for those with care or support needs, and this strategy provides a solid and common basis to work with developers, providers and teams inside the council and across our partners.

“Those who currently, or may in future, live in specialist accommodation are at the centre of this strategy. We want to ensure they remain as independent as possible and have a home that allows them to meet their own outcomes.

“We want to enable people of all ages to live healthy and successful lives in homes and neighbourhoods with suitable physical, social, and community assets.”

The strategy, which was consulted between August 2021 and January 2022, identifies five main areas including addressing short-term issues to unblock or manage issues within specialist accommodation locally, including the impact of COVID-19.

It also highlights the importance of access to the appropriate accommodation, and to enable people to live independently for as long as possible. Outlining how accommodation should be local to avoid people being placed a distance away from Kirklees, risking poorer outcomes.

Affordable specialist supported accommodation in partnership with the provider market was also key to offering better value and outcome models of care that are more flexible.

While creating sustainable accommodation that was flexible and able to change to meet individuals’ needs was also crucial.

The document – part of the overall Kirklees Housing Strategy – highlights the importance of collaboration between stakeholders from Health, Housing, Local Authority, and private sector providers working in an integrated way.

The plan will be shared with partners, developers and support providers to help ensure the needs of different people in their homes can be met, so they can remain as independent as possible.