Government's older person housing taskforce has its work cut out – Natalie Cameron writes for React News
Commercial Real Estate Senior Associate and member of the Later Living team, Natalie Cameron, has written for React News on the Government’s recent progress in establishing an “Older People’s Housing Taskforce” and the appointment of Professor Julienne Meyer as its Chair.
The taskforce was first announced in the February 2022 ‘Levelling Up’ white paper and is being launched by two Government departments – the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
Cameron highlights the differential between the UK and countries such as New Zealand, Australia and the USA, in terms of the availability of homes “with on-site care available”, with the UK (0.6% of total units) lacking far behind similar nations (5-6% total units).
Recognising this supply issue, the taskforce’s purpose is “to work across housing, health and care sectors to drive an increase in the volume and range of housing options, with a particular focus on boosting ‘housing with care’ numbers.”
This is an important issue, as highlighted in Professor Les Mayhew’s review for City University, which concluded that to meet demand, one in four new homes must be built with “housing with care” in mind. This equates to 50,000 of such homes built each year.
Cameron goes on to emphasise the significant role of taskforce appointees in delivering the vision of the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda and state how upcoming legislation aimed at enabling sustainable housing options “tailored to the varying needs of older people will be crucial in the integrated provision of facilities and care services.”
An additional focus for the taskforce will be on potential solutions to the supply of adequate later living housing, including providing clarity on the role of “housing with care” in regard to the planning system and leasehold reform.
The taskforce (consisting of 14 members from a variety of sectors within the later living sphere) will run for 12 months and will work independently of both DLUHC and DHSC ministers, with interim findings to be published after six months.
Cameron concludes by writing: “It is clear that the work to be done by the taskforce is both urgent and vital in enabling the required pace of development of later living accommodation.”