Sheltered Housing Consultation

Today I attended one of the consultation meetings that LBB had set up in order to speak to residents about the possibility of removing Housing Officers from Sheltered Housing schemes.

Hanshaw Drive scheme houses 44 residents, some are housebound and so could not make the meeting, those attending included friends and relatives. 100% of those attending agreed that they wanted to keep their Sheltered Housing Officers.

One resident spoke of having epilepsy and having been found on the floor three times by the resident officer who then got medical help. One resident called it ‘abuse of the elderly’. Many had given up larger properties, three bedroom houses, in order to get the sheltered care that they needed. They now wondered why they hadn’t just stayed where they were –  ‘the council are breaking tenants expectations’, ‘they have a Duty of Care’

Many of these residents feared the future lack of security, they had been plaqued by anti-social behaviour, ‘without our resident officer, Patrick, we won’t be able to sleep at night.’’There is the social cost and the detriment to mental health.’

There was a consensus that any new scheme would ultimately cost more with greater involvement of social services and the PCT. Residents leaving hospital would have to spend time in a nursing home because there would be no-one on site to look in on them. At present residents discharged on a Friday are supported by the Resident Housing Officer who will get them their medication and food.

Residents have been sent a questionnaire to complete and an explanatory document, that are both hard to understand and extensive. What is clear is that the residents will not be accepting the removal of a service that is well established and based on need.

Anne Denison.

UNISON Convenor for Barnet Homes

23 February 2009

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