Lots of young people start thinking about living independently as they get older. The skills needed to live independently include cooking, housekeeping, travelling and handling money. There are a lot of things that can be done to help prepare for the future and for adult life.
The national Preparing for Adulthood website has an independent living page with case studies on how independent housing has given young people with SEND invaluable life skills.
You can also find information in the Devon Independence Toolkit.
There are many different housing options available and ways to find a home, as well as the adaptions and equipment that can help people to stay independent in their home. It is important that you start to think about:
- where you might want to live
- whether you want to live with anyone else or by yourself
- what sort of things you want to do in the community
Social housing or affordable housing
You can rent social housing and affordable housing. This is low-cost housing provided by housing associations or councils to people with low incomes or special housing needs.
To access this, you need to be on the housing register which is a list for people who are looking for somewhere to live. In Devon, this is called the Devon Home Choice Scheme.
If you want to live with a friend or family member in the long term then you can apply to this scheme together.
Renting from a private landlord
This is when you live in a property owned by an individual person, sometimes known as a private landlord or a company. You can find properties through an estate agent, newspaper adverts or on internet housing sites.
Your local district council can often help people access private rented housing by either helping with the deposit or by having an arrangement whereby the council or housing association lease from the private landlord and give you a tenancy.
Anyone who rents a home is a tenant and will have to sign a tenancy agreement. These agreements cover the rights and responsibilities of you as a tenant and the landlord.
The agreement should also include important information such as:
- when the tenancy will start
- whether you have a tenancy or a licence (a tenancy gives more security)
- how you can end the tenancy
- what actions or behaviour, from the tenant or landlord, would be considered breaking the rules of the tenancy
- what type of accommodation is covered
- when the rent should be paid
- tenant responsibilities in relation to things such as noise, pets, looking after your home
- who will/can do repairs and decoration
People with disabilities and learning difficulties can and do have tenancy agreements. However, decisions about who should sign a tenancy agreement should be made using official capacity assessments and all decisions should be properly recorded.
Owning your home
You can get help to buy a house through a shared ownership scheme. A housing association buys the property and sells a share of it to you.
You might need a mortgage to buy a share of the house and will pay rent on the rest.
Shared Lives schemes (from age 16) match someone who needs care with an approved carer. The carer shares their family and community life and gives care and support to the person with care needs.
Some people move in with their Shared Lives carer, while others are regular daytime visitors. Some combine daytime and overnight visits.
This offer supports people to be introduced to higher levels of independence, whilst remaining in a safe and protective family environment.
In Devon, this is currently provided by Shared Lives South West and more information can be found on their website.
Supported living scheme
This is where someone who has support from a care and support provider, who already has or wants their own tenancy, is helped to live as independently and safely as possible.
People who live in supported living arrangements can rent either a room, flat, house or bungalow and live with or near people with similar needs and will have their own tenancy.
If you earn enough money, you’ll need to pay for the rent yourself. If you don’t earn enough, you could apply for housing benefit. The Local Authority will fund the care that is in your social care assessment.
Care and support providers will make visits to help residents live as independently and safely as possible.
You can find more information about supported living on our Adult Care and Health pages.
Extra care housing
In an extra care housing scheme you live in a self-contained property on a development with 24 hours care and support available on-site.
More information can be found on extra care housing can be found on Devon County Council’s Adult Social Care webpages.
Residential and nursing care is an option usually reserved for people with complex needs, emergencies and where 24-hour support is needed.
In a residential care home, you have a room in a building shared with a number of other people. The main living costs such as rent and food are included.
More information on residential care homes can be found on Devon County Council’s Adult Social Care webpages.
A nursing home, as distinct from a residential care home, provides medical care from a qualified nurse who is on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
More information on nursing homes can be found on Devon County Council’s Adult Social Care webpages.
More information on housing options can be found on the Devon County Council Adult Social Care page – Housing options.
Easy read information on housing options can be found on the Learning Disability Devon Website.
To help you stay independent in your home, minor or major adaptions and equipment are available. Minor adaptions or equipment include grab rails, walking frames and raised toilet seats. Major adaptions include lifts or wide doorways.
More information on adaptions and equipment, including how to access funding, is available on our Adult Care and Health webpages – Adapting your home.
Technology Enabled Care and Support (TECS)
TECS is the term for assistive technologies that can help people to live more independently in their homes.
If you would like to know what kind of TECS support might be available to support any eligible needs that you may have, please start by completing our online self-help tool.
There is more information about TECS, including a video showing the technology in action, on our Adult Care and Health webpages.
Disability Facilities Grant
You can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant which can be used to help modify your home in numerous ways, for example:
- widening doorways or installing ramps
- improving access to rooms and facilities
- providing heating systems
- adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use
In order to organise a visit from an occupational therapist to assess your needs in your home, contact Care Direct on 0345 1551 007.
Visit the Learning Disability Devon website for easy read information on housing options.