The Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee recommends that the council funds a permanent post that will ensure housing in Argyll and Bute is accessible and adaptable, to meet all needs.
The Housing Occupational Therapist post, is funded through the Strategic Housing Fund, and links up the Health and Social Care Partnership and Housing Services.
This has been a temporary role for three years and has been successful in meeting key outcomes in the council’s housing strategy and helping appropriate services to work together.
Key successes include:
- Creating a joint training programme for housing and HSCP staff;
- Establishing a formal framework for joint locality-based housing and health group meetings, and improvements to adaptations services;
- Making use that housing staff know the best way to assess and plan for the priorities of wheelchair users.
The Housing OT Action Plan includes a wide range of tasks aimed at ensuring that homes are suitable for people with a range of needs. This includes:
- Advising on new-build developments;
- Developing standard practice for providing adaptations across the area;
- Continuing to provide training across the sectors; and
- Liaising with other OTs, for example in paediatrics and dementia services.
Providing homes that are accessible and adaptable is important for our communities. Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) in Argyll and Bute currently provide around 1,368 specialist homes, amounting to approximately 16% of their total stock. This covers a range of specialist models, including amenity housing, sheltered, wheelchair housing, retirement homes, extra care, and adapted properties.
In 2019/20 the HOMEArgyll landlords allocated 849 homes, of which around 7.4% (63) were for specialist units. Combining HOMEArgyll, Bield and other national/specialist re-lets last year, almost 15% of households (136) allocated permanent new homes were housed in some form of specialist accommodation.
Leader of the council, Councillor Robin Currie, said: “Creating homes that support the communities of Argyll and Bute, now and in the future, is at the forefront of our economic strategy. They must be fit for purpose and they must be fit for everyone. The Housing OT brings valuable knowledge and skills to the team.”
Notes: The Strategic Housing Fund: In December 2004, council decided to exercise its discretion to reduce the discount for Council Tax for second and holiday homes across the whole council area from 50% to 10%. In line with Scottish Government guidance, which states that additional income arising from the reduced discount of Council Tax on second and holiday homes be retained locally by the local authority and used specifically for the provision of affordable social housing, the Strategic Housing Fund (SHF) was created to allow for allocations in support of priority projects emerging from the Local Housing Strategy (LHS).
RSLs in Argyll and Bute include: HOMEArgyll landlords (ACHA, Fyne Homes, Dunbritton and West Highland), as well as national organisations such as Bield, Blackwood, Cairn, Key Housing, and Trust.