My Home, My Life. Innovative Approaches To Housing And Support For People With Learning Difficulties

By Ken Simons.

Values into Action in association with the The Norah Fry
Research Centre


ISBN 0 903945 38 X

Ken Simons has produced an excellent source book describing
supported housing initiatives for people with a wide range of
learning difficulties.

The accounts are brought to life by enthusiastic comments from
some of those living in their own homes for the first time, and
from the families of some who proved they were not too dependent to
receive 24-hour care at home.

The author contrasts these developments, based on individual
desires and requirements, with the continued use of group
residential units for most of those moving from long-stay hospitals
or leaving their parents’ home.

He pinpoints the lack of coherent guidance by health, social and
government services on how to truly implement the ‘ordinary life’

He identifies factors reinforcing this inertia, especially the
funding arrangements for residential care including the new
Independent Living Fund rules. Simons examines vital issues such as
the involvement of individuals in planning their own housing
arrangements including whether to share.

He looks at the nature and security of the tenure, how to decide
on the level of support required in each case, the cost of support
(higher in the institutional alternatives even for those needing
24-hour care), household budgeting, and involvement in the wider

He emphasises the role of clear management structures in
protection against abuse, neglect or incompetence, along with the
crucial safeguard of an individual’s link with family, friends and
the wider community.

The message is that supported housing can meet any degree of
need, where there is commitment to the individual in the

Factors likely to promote such innovative practice are
discussed, and suggestions made about ways in which such ideas can
be carried forward into mainstream services.

Pat Fitton is author of Listen To Me: Communicating
the Needs of People with Profound Intellectual and Multiple
and co-author (with Carol O’Brien and Jean
Willson) of Home At Last: How Two Young Women with Profound
Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities Achieved Their Own

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