Foundations launches home adaptations study

Foundations has launched a new study to see what social landlords can do to help more of their residents live in accessible homes.

The research project by Foundations, the national body for home improvement agencies in England, will explore how housing associations and other registered providers carry out home adaptations such as grabrails and stairlifts.

The study is being supported by the body’s charitable arm Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT), along with two leading accessible housing providers Habinteg and Anchor Hanover.

The results will feed into a report which will highlight innovation and good practice with the aim of helping more social housing tenants to live independently.

Paul Smith, director of Foundations, said: “Social landlords play a vital role in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in society to live independently.

“This important research will improve the evidence base about how home adaptations are carried out and help housing associations and other providers to improve the way they work with tenants to ensure homes are accessible.”

The study largely consists of a survey covering seven themes, asking housing providers questions about topics such as their policies and protocols around adaptations, how they use specialist staff such as occupational therapists, and how they retain and record the adaptations they make.

The survey also looks at what support housing providers offer to tenants to move home rather than have their property adapted.

The study will build on a 2018 review of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), which found that social landlords accounts for over a third of adaptations funded through DFGs.

Nicholas Bungay, director of strategy and external affairs at Habinteg, said: “By joining forces with Foundations and Anchor Hanover, we hope this research will help to improve the independence and quality of life for disabled tenants and their families.”

In 2018-19 DFG funding was used to support around 53,500 people in England across all tenures, while a Foundations report found that DFGs helped the average local authority keep 11 people out of care homes that year.

The government has made £505 million of DFG funding available via local authorities to pay for home adaptations during 2020-21.

Foundations are especially keen to hear from organisations that feel they are delivering home adaptations and accessible homes effectively, have a good partnership with local authorities, are using innovative designs, or have any other examples of good practice.

The survey, which closes on Friday 26 June 2020, can be found here: https://kwiksurveys.com/s/Ie20NjbI#/0

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