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Accessible homes hugely improve independence and reduce risk of future injury.

Yet in 2014/15, around 365,000 homes were classed as unsuitable for their occupants in England. This worrying number becomes increasingly more concerning as the need for adaptations grows, not only to allow people to stay in their homes, but to mitigate risk of further injuries.

Whilst the DFG aims to remedy this, local authorities often experience an annual underspend due to lack of demand.

According to a new report by the CSJ, “there are problems with the way the current DFG process works which highlights the potential drivers for unmet demand.”

The report highlights an “outdated and stringent means test, amongst many other problems that prevent adaptations being funded.”

In response to this, Foundations, in partnership with Leeds Beckett University and Heriot Watt university, are thrilled to be in the latter stages of developing a new DFG Website, which is set to make drastic improvements to the application process that aims to benefit both eligible clients and local authorities alike.

The goal is to simplify and streamline the application stage, from referral to decision making, into a single site, cutting the process from 222 steps to just 22.

But the work doesn’t stop there.

An additional factor to ensuring applicants have easy access to relevant funding, as cited in the report, is to create an awareness of what is actually possible for people living in unsuitable home environments.

The CSJ found that around 16.1% of people with eligible care needs do not know their local authority has a duty to provide community equipment, let alone grants to adapt the house!

A national effort to ensure both awareness of the available support, and a streamlined process of obtaining it, is crucial to prevent numerous potential social and health care issues, as well as inevitably saving funds.

We know that whilst our sector endeavours to make all funding easily available to vulnerable people who need it most, it is difficult for any local authority to do by themselves.

Foundations have secured significant funding.

We are working with partners with specialist expertise to develop new solutions that will help to accelerate every local authority towards this shared ambition.

Over the coming months, we will be keeping you up to date about this transformative new digital tool, so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news.

You can read the full report here and, in particular the findings on Improving adaptations to existing homes, from page 183 of the report.