Sheltered Housing

ADVICE NI’S HELPLINES REMAIN OPEN

We will not be providing face-to-face advice or training for the foreseeable future. We will contact existing advice clients by phone. Our staff will continue to support our members and can be reached via telephone and email as usual.

We are working hard to move our training, where possible, to digital. For any queries, please contact our training team at [email protected]

We can only provide advice to people living in Northern Ireland. 

Helpline contact details:

Welfare Changes ring 0808 802 0020 or email [email protected]
Tax & Benefits ring 0800 988 2377 or email [email protected]
Business Debt ring 0800 083 8018 or email [email protected]
Debt Action ring 0800 028 1881 or email [email protected]
EU Settlement Scheme ring 0800 138 6545 or email [email protected]
For Historical Institutional Abuse advice and support call 02890 645919 email [email protected]

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Sheltered housing, sometimes referred to as "retirement homes", gives you independence with support on-site. 

Sheltered housing is the term used to describe accommodation built in accordance with specific guidelines set by the Department for Communities (DfC) and suitable for older or disabled people.

Sheltered accommodation aims to improve your life and enable you to remain independent for as long as possible. There are many different types of sheltered housing available, including those available to buy and to rent. Most sheltered schemes provide the following facilities and services, although they will vary between providers:

  • Self contained accommodation - apartment or bungalow (e.g. own kitchen, bathroom, living room etc)
  • Central heating
  • Scheme supervisor service (e.g. warden or scheme manager)
  • 24 hour call centre support with emergency assistance
  • Communal rooms for social use
  • Optional social activities such as bingo or dances
  • Laundry room
  • Guest room for friends or relatives
  • Landscaped gardens
  • Security and safety features
  • Widened doors/hallways for wheelchair users

Sheltered housing accommodation is usually small and easy to manage and designed for people with disabilities. There may be a walk-in shower, higher sockets, lowered light switches or lowered work-tops, for example.

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Benefits of Sheltered Housing

The key benefits of sheltered housing schemes are the provision of wardens and 24 hour emergency assistance. This helps you feel safe and secure – you know that assistance is on-hand in an emergency.

Also, social activities and contact with other residents enables you to maintain an active social life even if you become frail. This can help you combat issues such as social inclusion, loneliness, isolation, anxiety and depression.

The scheme manager does not usually provide care for residents, although they can help to organise support services such as a care assessment, meals on wheels, or help with bathing. Therefore, sheltered housing schemes are usually linked into social help and care services.

Don't forget about the service charge

You pay a service charge for sheltered housing regardless of whether you rent or own the home. This covers such things as the scheme manager, maintenance, gardening, cleaning of communal areas, the alarm system and so on.

Service charges vary between schemes so it is important to check these but some service charges can be covered by your Housing Benefit.

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Finding Sheltered Housing

To find out about sheltered housing in Northern Ireland, download the Essential Role of Sheltered Housing (ERoSH) NI Directory which contains information about sheltered housing schemes.

The directory contains the name and address, the facilities and services provided, and contact details for viewing and applying for each scheme.

Housing Care also have a handy online search facility for all types of accommodation. Just make sure you select the correct region to search.

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