Councils failing to meet housing needs of people with learning difficulties

Local authorities are failing to meet the future housing needs
of thousands of people with a learning difficulty who are living at
home with elderly parents, a major survey of local authorities has
found, writes Derren Hayes.

The research by Mencap shows that only one in four local
authorities have made plans in 2002/03 to find alternative
accommodation for those with learning difficulties being cared for
by parents aged over 70.

On that current rate of planning – 227 places per year –
it will take 30 years to provide alternative housing for carers’
sons and daughters.

The ‘Housing Timebomb’ report found that half of the local
authorities surveyed did not know the number of people living with
elderly parents, only one in five have provided for a significant
increase in their residential and nursing care budget for next
year, and only one in 10 have provided for a significant increase
in their budget for supported living.

It calls for social services to work with families to draw up
long-term care and support plans, ideally when the parent reaches
50, with priority given to those living with parents aged 70 and

It also recommends up-to-date registers should be kept recording
the number of parents aged between 60-69 and over 70, whether their
sons and daughters may need a move within the next 3-5 years, and
the type and cost of support needed.

The government estimates there are 29,000 people with a learning
difficulty living at home with a parent aged 70 or over in

Mencap surveyed 150 English local authorities between January
and May this year. The report is based on responses from 92 of them
covering over 90,000 adults with a learning difficulty known to
local authorities.

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