Proposals announced to boost financial assistance to improve housing conditions of elderly and vulnerable

Plans designed to improve support available to vulnerable and disabled residents and assist independent living are being examined at a meeting of the executive next week.

The proposed changes - increasing the financial assistance available to vulnerable and disabled residents - will be discussed on Wednesday 19 October 2016.

The recommendations to alter the Manchester Home Improvement and Relocation Assistance Policy (MHIRAP) include increases to the Minor Works Assistance Loan, and Home Repairs Assistance Grant, and also suggest improvements to the delivery of the Disabled Facilities Grant.

MHIRAP outlines how the city council can provide financial assistance to help improve the living conditions of vulnerable Mancunians.

Financial assistance for home improvement is available to help elderly and vulnerable owner occupiers address serious health and safety hazards and disrepair in their homes.

The maximum allowance for both the Minor Works Assistance Loan, and Home Repairs Assistance Grant will be recommended to increase from £5,000 to £7,000.

The 40 per cent increase is designed to help meet the rising cost of home repairs.

Typical repairs covered include electrical re-wiring and fixing serious water ingress.

The Minor Works Assistance Loan is a loan secured against an occupant’s home which is only repaid in the event of the property being sold, the property ceases to be the applicant’s main residence, or the applicant passes away.

The Home Repairs Assistance Grant is provided when a serious risk would be posed to an applicant’s health, safety or wellbeing if repair or improvement works are not carried out.

A further recommendation is to include the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) into the MHIRAP.

A DFG is made to eligible disabled applicants to enable the adaptation of their home, to meet their specific needs.

Suitably adapted homes – allowing disabled residents to continue to live independently - can decrease the need for hospital admissions and defer admissions to residential care.

Including DFG’s within the policy will broaden the range of options available to support Manchester’s vulnerable disabled residents.

It has also been proposed to remove the need to means test tenants of social landlords in relation to the Disabled Facilities Grant. This change - believed to incur no extra cost -  is designed to speed up the time it takes to process the grant applications.

Councillor Paul Andrews, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing, said: “It’s important to periodically review this policy to ensure its delivery best meets the needs of our vulnerable and disabled residents. The proposed changes are designed to both improve the service and increase the amount of financial support available for those in need. Residents living in homes adapted appropriately for their needs, and in good repair, are likely to enjoy improved health and wellbeing and often feel a greater sense of community in the area they live.”

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