Exploring the challenges of regenerating sheltered homes for older people

28 February 2024

At the NHF, we recently responded to an all-party parliamentary group inquiry on the regeneration of outdated sheltered housing. Our response highlights the acute need for more specialist homes for older people, and the barriers our members face to regenerating these homes.

By 2035, the number of people over the age of 60 in England will reach 29% of the population. The number of people in the UK living with dementia is set to double by 2040 and currently, two thirds do not live in specialist housing. We are already facing an acute shortage of specialist housing for older people and new homes that meet the needs of an ageing population.

That’s why we welcomed the opportunity to submit evidence to the APPG on Housing and Care for Older People on the challenges our members face regenerating sheltered housing to meet this need. We believe that regeneration, as well as the delivery of much-needed new social housing, should be central to a long-term national plan for housing.

A shift towards more funding for regeneration projects aligns with the recommendations of the Better Social Housing Review (BSHR) panel. The panel made it clear that housing associations need to work with the government to create ways to fund the regeneration England’s social homes.

Our submission

Why do housing associations want to upgrade, modernise or extend sheltered housing?

  • To meet the increasing need for accessible older person’s housing into the future.
  • To ensure there are more housing options for older people, and the needs and wants of older people can be taken into account in the development of more homes.
  • To make sure homes are flexible and adaptable to meet future needs and have easy access to a range of help and support.
  • To provide high quality, warm and affordable homes for their residents now and in the future.

What barriers do housing associations face regenerating sheltered housing for older people?

  • A lack of sufficient funding and investment capacity, especially for smaller providers and those that specialise in older person’s housing.
  • The uncertainty around commissioning for schemes. This affects housing association’s decision-making about investment over the long-term.
  • The lack of availability and certainty of funding for upgrading, modernisingmodernising and extending means many housing associations are having to consider closing sheltered housing schemes.

What are the solutions?

In our submission we looked at some of the solutions to the barriers, including:

  • A more integrated and sustainable financial package to support housing associations to upgrade sheltered housing with long-term certainty.
  • A strategic approach to older person’s housing from Homes England and the Greater London Authority.
  • An exploration from the inquiry on how smaller housing associations can engage in regeneration projects effectively.
  • More guidance from the government on what good regeneration looks like, that reflects the diversity of schemes in the sector.
  • The government should boost and ring-fencing funding for housing-related support to ensure spending at least matches the £1.6bn per year allocated to local authorities in England in 2010.

Who to speak to

Mary Raymer, External Affairs Manager