A public consultation on the Mayor’s Draft London Housing Strategy closes on 17th February 2014. Age UK London will be responding and it would be great to hear from you if you have views and experiences which you would like to feed in.
What the Mayor’s team have put in the draft does show awareness of older people having housing needs, but have they understood the range of needs and got the right solutions? What would you like to see the Mayor, local authorities and housing providers do to improve housing for older people? A few main points included in the consultation document :
While the main overall emphasis is on meeting the needs of working people for affordable housing (whwtever “affordable” means), many parts of the strategy are definitely of interest from the age point of (even leaving aside that “older people” can also be “working people”). Key messages include supporting good space standards in building in London and reaffirming the existing Lifetime Homes approach to new building and the London Housing Design Guide (Section 2.5), retrofitting existing homes to improve energy efficiency (2.6) and investment to meet the Decent Homes Standard (2.7)
Section 3.8 on older people’s housing refers to forecasts for expected growth in the older population, and includes an emphasis on Lifetime Homes and Lifetime Neighbourhoods to ensure the “mainstream” is accessible for people of all ages. It aims to promote more purpose-built older people’s housing in the open market sector and calls for more exploration of options like shared equity and equity release to support this. At the same time the proposals recognise there will be more need for more specialised housing for people with higher support needs. This part mentions what the Mayor has already done through the Housing Covenant to support specialist accommodation for older people. Section 3.8 does not include target numbers for provision of different types of housing for older people.