The supply of extra care housing is drying up because of a lack of government funding and the poor state of the housing market, experts have concluded.
The warning from market analysts Laing & Buisson comes despite evidence that extra care delivers better outcomes for people than home care alone.
Laing & Buisson’s Extra Care Housing UK Market Report found that 6,000 of today’s 35,000 extra care units were built with money given by the Department of Health under its grant scheme that ended in 2010. The scheme supported partnership working between local authorities and housing associations.
In 2010, councils were given £20,000 each to develop extra care strategies, but the funding had not proved effective, found the report.
Report author Philip Mickelborough said: “The [original] fund was a great success, not only did it make capital available for development, it also raised the profile of extra care among adult social services staff. However, with no bidding rounds since the 2008-10 exercise, the model appears to have fallen off the government’s agenda.”
The fund’s ending coincided with the credit crunch and housing slump. In the hope that the housing market will improve, many potential extra care clients are clinging on in their homes rather than selling them in order to buy the lease of an extra care apartment, found Mickelborough.
Nor has the privately-rented extra care market been able to create any opportunities because the credit crunch has created difficulties among providers in finding the funds to develop new schemes.
This chimes with a report last month from the International Longevity Centre-UK, which warned that it was unlikely to fulfil its potential for better outcomes and reduced costs “without a co-ordinated response from policymakers”.
This report found that extra care delivered better outcomes than home care alone in terms of delaying entry into residential care.
As a broad definition, extra care housing is a model that combines purpose-built and ergonomically-designed housing for older people with onsite flexible care that adapts to residents’ changing needs and allows them to retain their independence.
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