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Financial assistance extended for home adaptations

Published date

Harlow Council is to extend the financial assistance available to help residents with disabilities live independently in their homes.

The council’s Cabinet has approved a new policy which improves the way grants are offered to help residents with disabilities make adaptations in private homes. 

Currently the council can provide mandatory means tested Disabled Facilities Grants to residents with disabilities living in private housing including owner occupiers and those renting privately or from a registered social landlord. 

The council receives funding from the government via Essex County Council for private sector housing. The council has its own budget and a separate process for adaptations in council-owned homes. 

Adaptations funded through Disabled Facilities Grants include:

  • stairlifts 
  • door widening
  • ramps
  • graded floor showers
  • bathroom adaptions 
  • small home safety improvements 

Under the changes to the council’s policy, it will now have discretion to provide grants up to £15,000 without means testing, which will speed up the grants process and remove unnecessary red tape for many residents who would like help adapting their home. The changes come into effect from this month.

This will particularly help residents in private housing to discharge from hospital, or to avoid the risk of hospital admission due to falls. 

Councillor Nicky Purse, cabinet portfolio holder for sustainability and environment, said: 

“As part of our priority to improve council services we are introducing better processes and new ways of improving the lives of our residents. 

“In 2022 to 2023 Essex County Council allocated nearly £1m of Better Care funding to help residents with disabilities to adapt their homes and live independently. The changes we are making will extend the financial assistance available so even more residents can benefit quickly from adaptations in their home. 

“Adapting an existing home is the usually the preferred way forward for residents with disabilities and is a far better use of financial resources than alternatives such as institutional care or extended home-care packages.”

You can email env.health@harlow.gov.uk if you have any questions about the grants or the grants process.