Author Topic: What Does 'Re-Modelling' Swindons Sheltered Housing Schemes Mean?  (Read 1972 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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I note that a Swindon Borough Council report Russell Holland recently referred to stated that our sheltered housing schemes are to be 're-modelled' at a cost of £24,000,000 (million) pounds.

But what does 're-modelling' actually mean for Swindons schemes, and the elderly and vulnerable tenants living within them?

A key objective of policy for older people is to enable them to remain in homes of their own.  For the majority this will mean in their existing home but for a minority the most suitable option will be extra care housing (sheltered housing with extra facilities such as additional communal space, meals and the availability of care).

Research shows that this is popular with older people and is a cost effective option. Building new schemes is expensive and takes a long time. Some providers are converting existing sheltered housing schemes and residential care homes into extra care housing.

If Swindon Council achieves it's 'preferred option' and transfers ownership of its housing stock to the Swindon Housing Association, how will the housing association 're-model' the sheltered housing schemes?

EROSH or 'The Essential Role Of Sheltered Housing syas:

"Given the changing face of sheltered housing more providers are looking for guidance on decommissioning and remodelling sheltered housing schemes.

To ensure we are giving our members the best advice when it comes to decommissioning and remodelling we are rewriting our guidance on these areas.

We are looking for members to submit examples of best practice where they can demonstrate successful planning, consultation and involvement of residents in the decision process, provision of information throughout the process to residents, families and carers and support to residents if a scheme has been decommissioned or remodelled".

I've noticed that 'decommissioning' and 're-modelling' are words which are cropping up more regularly now than ever before and you don't have to look very hard, or for very long to find evidence of sheltered housing schemes which have been decommissioned or remodelled to find explantions of what it can mean in practice.

Fortey House in Northleach,  a sheltered housing unit a few miles North-East of Cirencester, was simultaneously remodelled and decommissioned by its Housing association landlords Fosseway Living who wanted to demolish the sheltered housing unit, (also known as an EPGD or Elderly Persons Group Dwelling), and build houses on the site.

In April 2010 Fosseway Living successfully evicted John Kear, the last remaining elderly tenant living at Fortey House.

Mr Kear, who lived at Fortey House for the previous six years said:

Quote from: John Kear
"I did not want to leave, it still deeply upsets me. I made plenty of friends and worked hard on the gardens at Fortey House. What a waste.

 ‘I am grateful I have been found a lovely house but it won’t be the same. I could have moved to a big mansion but nothing will compare to the room I had at Fortey House and the friends I made there."

I'm sure Cllr Holland will want to dismiss this post and the questions it contains as 'emotive' rubbish, but this is just one example of where policies such as his can, and often do lead.

I'm equally sure Russell would nod approvingly at the actions of (former) Northleach town councillor Roy Mustoe, who persuaded 300 people to petition Fosseway Living for more affordable housing in the town.

Mr Mustoe remained unrepentant about whipping up support for a campaign which ultimately saw the elderly residents of Fortey House evicted from their homes: He said:

Quote from: Roy Mustoe
"There's a desperate need for more social housing. This town needs its young people but there are no affordable homes. I'm pleased and I hope the residents can find suitable housing elsewhere."

Oh. That's alright then, eh?

I wonder how many of Cllr Mustoes fellow petitioners watched the Fortey House evictions and said: "This isn't what I wanted".

Anyway, we must continue asking questions about phrases which sound nice and furry, and be very sure that we know exactly what is meant by them because I don't think any of us want to be reading about elderly Swindonians being evicted from their homes because Councillors haven't been perfectly clear about what their own reports actually say and mean.

My Father lived in an extra care EPGD.  He was very happy there and felt safe and secure.  The thought that there are elected councillors who would quite happily promote their own petitions and political agendas which would culminate in having elderly people like my Father evicted from their homes make me feel physically sick.

John Kear - Last Man Standing

Offline Bassettina

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Re: What Does 'Re-Modelling' Swindons Sheltered Housing Schemes Mean?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2011, 04:56:04 PM »
My gran spent her last years in sheltered housing - she kept her independence but we knew there was extra security and someone on call who could get to her faster than we could, if she fell or needed help. I stil remember how tidy she kept it, her lovely little garden, the old ladies on her corridor that used to be so nice to us, the caring warden who looked out for the residents.

There's no humanity to people who look at such a system and try to figure out the 'profit angle'.

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Re: What Does 'Re-Modelling' Swindons Sheltered Housing Schemes Mean?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2011, 06:37:26 PM »
Perhaps a list of sheltered EPGDs may help this debate, anyone have one? What about the bungalows they occupy a lot of land and could easily be swept away for flats? To of course..... provide much needed affordable housing. This raises the question of is one man's safety and comfort another man's housing opportunity?

Offline Muggins

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Re: What Does 'Re-Modelling' Swindons Sheltered Housing Schemes Mean?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 06:40:23 PM »
Did we not hear a couple of years ago, that some of the sheltered dwelling were not so popular as others - those that had more than two sotreys and bedsits for instance and the top storey of at least one had been abandoned and then let to the yonger single people, provoking much discomfort and complaints from to those living below.  Now there is something that could have been predicted! I think I also heard that they were getting harder to let too, but this is anecdotal, so i have nowhere to point for evidence of that.   

If the latter is true and taking the former into consideration, perhaps a bit of remodelling might not go amiss.

Reminder that some of the blocks of council 'maisonettes' were remodelled to EPD many years ago.

As with Bassettina, My in laws and my sister found it good for them, at least until mys sister was ill - lest said about that part of the deal the better. 

I suspect that by now there is not a warden for each sheltered housing, so the care is being cut there too if that is happening.   
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)