April 13, 2007
A post has been created in Neath Port Talbot (NPT) which may prove to be extremely useful to families having to consider the future living arrangements of their sons or daughters. When NPT Social Services submitted an Action Plan around the Service Principles and Service Responses to the Welsh Assembly it asked for a grant towards this post. Parents know without saying that one of the main concerns for families is what happens when carers either cannot cope or are no longer around.
The Housing Options Coordinators role is to talk to families, particularly where there are elderly carers, and to discuss the choices of accommodation that may be available in the future. It is important that options given around accommodation issues are creative and innovative to increase the choices available. To this end, the person employed to carry out this role, Caroline Hosgood, has worked in housing for many years. Caroline visits individuals and their families to identify the types of accommodation and support that may be suitable for the future needs of the individual. Some of the options considered may be moving to a group home, staying in the family home with appropriate care or being an owner occupier under the Assisted Homebuy scheme. These are just a few of the options that may be available but any package would be geared specifically to the individual. Caroline is also able to give general housing advice. At the time of writing, 44 people had accessed the service and 23 had active housing plans. In addition, Caroline works with some individuals who are in the stage of transition from child to adulthood where there are issues related to housing.
Over the years advice about future accommodation needs in Wales has varied from nothing to poor and inaccurate to lets tackle that when the need arises. This has led to great anxiety for parents and carers in their later years and often, expensive crisis situations for social services. As a result, the aspirations and well-being of the individual concerned frequently appear to be overlooked.
Many individuals, their parents/carers need to talk to someone who is experienced enough to discuss the housing options that may be available. NPT Social Services must be congratulated for identifying the need for this post and it is hoped that funding will be available to continue after the initial grant comes to an end. It is with great interest that we follow the development of a Housing Options post working alongside care managers, social workers and others. The need for accurate advice-giving to families around housing issues has been obvious to parents and carers for many years so it would be nice if each county borough in Wales was to look at this development. NPT has started; let.s see if others will follow.
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