Housing association LiveWest has underlined its commitment to improving the lives of people with learning disabilities and/or autism across the South West by working with 12 other housing providers to develop a new Learning Disability and Autism Housing Network Charter.
The charter, which launched last month, aims to ensure new, sustainable and quality housing is made accessible for people with a learning disability and or autism.
LiveWest has delivered over 50 new homes specifically for people with learning difficulties in the South West over the last four years.
Darrell Jackson, Head of Older Persons and Learning Disability services at LiveWest, said: “Housing for people with a learning disability is one of the main strands of our supported housing strategy.
“We recognise the importance of the physical environment and how new, well designed homes, utilising assistive technology, can promote the independence of residents and improve their overall quality of life.
“Housing associations like LiveWest play a key role, working in partnership with health and social care commissioners, to deliver new models of supported housing to meet the increasing demand and enable people to build their own lives in their communities.”
The Learning Disability and Autism Housing Network Charter asks for government to create a more comprehensive and integrated national and local planning and policy framework for supported housing for people with a learning disability and or autism.
It also calls on the Government to create the conditions for growth of supply by allocating a higher proportion of the new affordable homes programme to new housing for people with learning disability and autism.
Alongside this, the charter also notes the importance of a rent standard that supports the commissioning and funding of new supported housing for people with high support needs, as well as a long-term sustainable, consistent housing benefit regime for supported housing.
In 2018 LiveWest built Eliot Court in Taunton, a scheme of 12 one-bedroom flats, which have been designed for people with learning difficulties. All the apartments benefit from assistive technology, which can be tailored to individual needs. Other design features include underfloor heating throughout and wet room bathrooms designed for people with mobility issues.
In 2019 LiveWest opened Passage Road in Bristol, which was funded by the NHS and provides 12 homes for people with learning disabilities.
More recently LiveWest completed Apple Tree Court in Street, which is an 18-home scheme. With continued rising demand and pressure on local authority budgets and particular demand for good learning disability accommodation, the long-term vision for Apple Tree Court is to enable people to maintain long-term tenancies enjoying their new homes for years to come.
LiveWest has started work on building a new LD scheme in Bishops Lydeard called the Paddocks which is due to be completed in April next year.
These schemes are built as part of LiveWest’s Supported Housing strategy to increase the number of homes they provide for people with learning disabilities and designed to meet the current and future needs of residents enabling them to live independently.
There is clear evidence that strategically planned sustainable, quality supported housing for people with a learning disability and/or autism provides long-term positive benefits for them and delivers value for money for social care and health commissioners.
The need for safe and secure housing, with the appropriate support and care, has never been greater for people with a learning disability or autism, some of whom have continued to shield in their homes throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Header image shows LiveWest’s Apple Tree court housing scheme in Street Somerset, which provides homes for people with learning disabilities.