Agenda item - Disabled Facilities Grant ( DFG ) Housing Policy Update 2018

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Agenda item

Disabled Facilities Grant ( DFG ) Housing Policy Update 2018

Report of the Executive Director for Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing (copy attached).

Decision:

(1)      That Committee notes the work done under the policy to date, the outturn to date and difference it has made to people’s lives from the customer feedback received.

 

(2)      That Committee approves a variation to the hospital discharge grant eligibility to include any older person or disabled person being discharged from intermediate care (such as Craven Vale & Knowle House)

 

(3)      That Committee approves the proposal to fund a dedicated Community Link Specialist within the Link Back Service to co-ordinate a small pool of early intervention volunteers to deliver the hospital discharge grant assisted support.

 

(4)      That Committee approves a variation to the dispensing with the means test from dispensing with the means test altogether for works costing up to £5,000, to making a contribution of up to £5,000 toward the cost of works where the disabled person has an assessed contribution to pay.

 

(5)      That Committee approves an increase to the maximum amount of assistance available under the warm, safe homes assistance from £5,000 to £7,500.

 

(6)    That a report be submitted to the Committee in a year’s time outlining how money had been spent.

Minutes:

27.1   The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing which reported that the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) Housing Policy provided greater flexibility in how the DFG was spent. The report provided an update on the outcomes of the new housing interventions delivered in partnership and sought the Committee’s approval to make some changes to the eligibility criteria and amount available under some forms of assistance being offered to improve the delivery and make the best use of the resources available.  The report was presented by the Operational Manager, Housing Adaptations.

 

27.2    Councillor Moonan remarked that she was sure all members would welcome this work which was about supporting people in their own homes. It was also supporting hospital discharge and making people’s homes appropriate for them to move back to. Councillor Moonan was pleased to see the Community Link Worker post. Councillor Moonan asked about means testing and said she would like reassurance that the money was targeted appropriately i.e people on low incomes who needed help and not people who could do this work for themselves. 

 

27.3    The Operational Manager, Housing Adaptations reassured Councillor Moonan that these referrals would come through Health or Social Care for through other housing professionals. People who had the means were generally unlikely to come through this route and were more likely to resolve their own housing issues. Officers could monitor the take up of discretionary forms of assistance.    

 

27.4    Councillor Mears welcomed the report and thanked officers. She stressed the importance of people being able to stay in their homes for longer and for people to be discharged from hospital and go back to their homes. Councillor Mears stressed that unless something was in place there would more call on Adult Social Care, hospitals and nursing homes. Councillor Mears referred to paragraph 3.11 and remarked that she was interested to read that Ashford Borough Council had increased their grant to £10,000. There was a need to be mindful that to keep more people in their own homes the council might need to be looking at extending the grant funding. It should also be recognised that tradesmen were often difficult to find and costs would increase. 

 

27.5    Councillor Mears referred to paragraph 7.3 of the report which stated that the Housing & New Homes Committee had delegated powers to discharge the Council’s functions as a housing authority.  Bearing in mind that these proposals would go to the Health & Wellbeing Board under the Better Care Fund, it should be recognised that the funding would come from the Housing & New Homes Committee. She was concerned that the council was becoming less joined up whereas local authorities should be more streamlined.  She stressed the need to see reports being submitted to the Health & Wellbeing Board on this subject.

 

27.6    Councillor Cattell commented that this was a fantastic project.  Something small could make a huge difference to someone’s life, particularly if they had just come out of hospital and they had had a life changing procedure. This was about being able to act very quickly and be responsive. It was about saving money across the board, helping the council’s overall budget and making people’s lives better. 

 

27.7    The Chair thanked the Operational Manager, Housing Adaptations for the detailed report. Members voted on the recommendations in the report and a new recommendation requesting a report to the committee in a year’s time outlining how grant money had been spent.  This was unanimously agreed.

 

27.8    RESOLVED:-

 

(1)      That Committee notes the work done under the policy to date, the outturn to date and difference it has made to people’s lives from the customer feedback received.

 

(2)      That Committee approves a variation to the hospital discharge grant eligibility to include any older person or disabled person being discharged from intermediate care (such as Craven Vale & Knowle House)

 

(3)      That Committee approves the proposal to fund a dedicated Community Link Specialist within the Link Back Service to co-ordinate a small pool of early intervention volunteers to deliver the hospital discharge grant assisted support.

 

(4)      That Committee approves a variation to the dispensing with the means test from dispensing with the means test altogether for works costing up to £5,000, to making a contribution of up to £5,000 toward the cost of works where the disabled person has an assessed contribution to pay.

 

(5)      That Committee approves an increase to the maximum amount of assistance available under the warm, safe homes assistance from £5,000 to £7,500.

 

(6)      That a report be submitted to the Committee in a year’s time outlining how the grant money had been spent.

 

Supporting documents:

 


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