A starter for ten thanks to £1.2m LD homes cash

People with Learning Disabilities will have a helping hand to own their own homes thanks to a successful Somerset County Council bid for Government funding.

As well as securing £1m to help home ownership, the authority has also been awarded £214,000 towards the cost of new technology that will help people with Learning Disabilities live independent lives.

The £1m of Department of Health funding will enable up to ten people with Learning Disabilities to buy their own home through the HOLD scheme – Home Ownership for people with Long term Disabilities.

The properties will be jointly owned with Knightstone Housing Association and the money goes towards deposits and fees that could  deter people with Learning Disabilities from buying a home.

The assistive technology will be used to adapt the homes so their new occupants can live as independently as possible, for example installing locks that recognise fingerprints rather than needing keys, or sensors to stop baths flooding.

“There is a shortage of suitable housing and the finances involved put it out of reach of many,” said Councillor William Wallace, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults Services.

“Our whole ethos is about helping with Learning Disabilities to live full, independent lives as possible and this will make that a reality for the people it supports.

“Local Government finances are truly stretched, so it has never been more important for us to seek out and bid for specific grants and funding wherever they can help us provide the kind of support that we all want to provide.”

Ten potential home owners will be supported through the process of getting and maintain a mortgage by the Mysafehome organisation. When the homes are resold, the money returns to the Department of Health for it to recycle in similar schemes.