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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:55 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:21 pm
Posts: 1457
Location: Hampshire
Housing Minister, Grant Shapps has announced plans to encourage elderly homeowners to move into smaller properties to help ease pressure on young families seeking affordable accommodation.

Mr Shapps said the Government-backed initiative would enable local authorities to offer support to older people wishing to move from larger homes. The councils would take over responsibility for maintaining the property and rent it out at affordable rates, returning any profit to the elderly person or their estate.

The Department for Communities and Local Government stressed the downsizing scheme was purely voluntary and no one would be forced to move.

Mr Shapps said: "For too long the housing needs of the elderly have been neglected. Older people who should be enjoying their homes have watched helplessly as their properties have become prisons, and many have been forced to sell their homes and move into residential care.

"With nearly a fifth of our population expected to be over 65 by 2020, radical and urgent change is needed to ensure the nation's housing needs are met."

Mr Shapps said for some older people, the move to more suitable accommodation could make a "life-changing difference".

"They can live independently for longer and enjoy more disposable income without selling their home, and other families can benefit from living in an affordable home," he said.

The scheme is part of the Housing Minister's 'New Deal' for older people, which includes £51m funding for Home Improvement Agencies to provide help and advice, including housing advice, including help to move to more suitable accommodation if needed; handyperson services; energy efficiency advice; and arranging for adaptations and home repairs to be made, including grab rails, stair-lifts and major work such as ground floor extensions.


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