Skip to main content

Housing support

There are a range of housing options available to people with a learning disability, ranging from residential care to supported housing and ‘shared lives’. Which one is most suitable to an individual all depends on the particular needs and wishes of the person in question.

Here are some frequentley asked questions that may help.

Residential Care

A residential care home provides accommodation and personal care. A person with a learning disability will have a room in a shared building. Twenty-four-hour care is provided and meals included. Most residential care homes house between 4-8 people.

Residential care homes are owned and managed by public, private sector or charitable bodies. They are registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) under the Care Standards Act 2000 and are regularly inspected. Staff are required to be trained to a certain level and staffing ratios are laid down.

How do I access Residential Care?

Adult Social Care carry out a needs assessment under the Care Act 2014 and finds a suitable home for the individual. If placed by a local authority following an assessment, the authority will normally fund the place with the home provider. Better run homes will try to ensure the person is compatible with existing residents, however there is some pressure to fill empty rooms.

Supported Housing

There are different forms of supported housing; people can live by themselves with support or share a home with a small number of other disabled people. Each person normally has their own bedroom.

The rest of the property is communal space and normally includes at least a lounge, kitchen and dining area. There may be additional facilities like a sensory room, laundry, staff sleep-in room and some schemes have ‘en suite’ bathrooms.

There will be an established and funded level of staff support, from visiting to 24-hour presence. Staff may or may not also live in the group home. Some supported housing provision is based purely on support with no personal care required.

People have their own individual tenancies, and if they don’t work, Housing Benefit will normally cover the costs of their rent. Tenants will have access to a range of benefits and will be able to choose how they spend them.

How do I access Supported Housing?

Anyone with a learning disability wanting to live in supported housing will normally have been assessed by their local social care department as needing this. Local authorities will often have preferred providers of supported housing, but individuals can also contact providers directly to see whether they can help. 

Barnsley Mencap Supported Living Services

Barnsley MENCAP

We support people with a learning disability to live how and where they choose in our supported living services.

We can provide personal support to help you with things like getting dressed. We can also help you around the home, such as cooking a meal. And if you would like support to go out in the community or to do your favourite thing, we can help you to with that too.

Support is available from a couple of hours a week to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information please click on the link to the Mencap website below:

Mencap Supported Living Services information

Contact Details:

Contact Name: Laura Angel

Address: F1 Willow Suite, Oaks Business Park, Oaks Lane, Barnsley, S71 1HT

Telephone: 01226732978

Barnsley Mencap has a Care Quality Commission rating of Good. To see the latest report from 30/11/2016 please click on the link below:

Barnsley Care Quality Commission Report

Home Ownership

There are multiple ways people with a learning disability can own a home. For example, people can enter a shared ownership agreement, either with investment from the family, help to buy or buy a home together with a number of other people. They can also buy a home outright, should they have an inheritance or other money to do this with.

There are different types of home ownership, which are explained in the questions and answers below. 

What is Shared Ownership?

Shared ownership normally means that rather than buying 100% of a home, you'd buy a percentage of it. This can range from 25% to 75% of the home. The other part of the home is then normally owned by a housing association/registered provider.

If you buy part of a home, you are still legally considered the owner and have the benefits and responsibilities that come with that. However, the responsibilities of homeownership are minimised for disabled people to ensure they are not suddenly faced with high maintenance costs.

Shared ownership is also known as ‘part-buy’, ‘part-rent’. The part that you don’t own,  is rented to the individual who owns the other part of the property. In the case of a disabled person, the part that is rented will, provided the individual qualifies, be eligible for Housing Benefit.

Normally, shared-ownership properties are developed and sold by housing associations. There are also shared ownership programmes financed by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The most relevant programme for people with a learning disability is the ‘Home Ownership for People with a Learning Disability’ programme. There are also a small number of housing associations that have shared ownership homes outside the HCA rules.

What is Shared Ownership with Family Investment?

A person may have inheritance and wants to put this into buying a place to live in. This can be done via the shared ownership route. For example, if a bungalow they have seen is £210,000 and the person has just inherited £70,000, they could buy a 30% share of the property, with the other part of the property being owned by a housing association.

What is Shared Ownership with a Mortgage?  

A person with a learning disability can buy a home with a mortgage. If you get a mortgage you have to pay some back each month, but you may get money to help with this if you claim: Income Support, Incapacity Benefit or Employment Support Allowance (Support Group), as well as Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments, High or Middle Rate Care or Daily Living Component. 

If you claim these benefits you may be able to claim Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). This pays most, but not all, of the interest on a mortgage of up to £200,000. You will need to pay for the usual solicitor, conveyancing and mortgage broker costs. 

The mortgage is eventually paid off using the money you get from selling the house or your death. If you have to sell the house for less than you bought it for the Housing Association covers the loss, so you will have enough money to pay off the mortgage.

The Housing Association may be able to get a grant from the Homes and Communities Agency called the HOLD Grant. They will also put some of their money in as well. It is important to remember that the person buying and living in a shared ownership property will need to pay rent on the part that they do not own. However, in the same way as when the person owns a part of the property outright, the person buying a home via this route will be able to claim Housing Benefit on this, unless they have more than £16,000 in savings or have paid work for more than 16 hours a week.

What is Shared Home Ownership with Other People?

It may be possible to group with other people to jointly buy a home for a small group of people with learning disabilities. Normally people go down the joint ownership route for up to 4 individuals. If it is more than 4, those wanting to buy the property can form a company. People can also set up an independent, not-for-profit company.

There's multiple ways to do this, depending on the parties involved. It may be that people own the same shares in a company model or individuals buy a self-contained house as part of a new development. Rent can be charged on the property to pay for maintenance and repair, repaying loans or housing management.

Barnsley Shared Lives

Barnsley Shared Lives offers support which gives individuals the opportunity to live as part of their community where they can develop their skills and confidence in a stable, supported environment.

In Barnsley we offer the service to people who:

  • have a learning or physical disability
  • are older
  • have a mental health problem
  • are vulnerable
  • are in transition from children's services to adults, at age 16
  • are being discharged from hospital
  • are of ill health

To find out more about this service please click here 

How do I access a Shared Lives Scheme?

Barnsley is part of a network of national providers of the Shared Lives scheme through Shared Lives Plus. Check their website for useful resources, including videos and blogs, about the scheme. 

You can fill out an enquiry form by clicking here  

Extra Care and Sheltered Housing

Extra-care and sheltered housing is normally for older people, but younger people can live in it too. Normally, sheltered housing describes schemes of a number of bungalows or flats, clustered in an area. Normally having an alarm system and a visiting or on-site warden. Extra-care housing will normally have more communal facilities, such as perhaps an activity room. Individual flats can be rented or bought via the shared ownership route. 

Renting a Home via the Mainstream Market

People with a learning disability can rent a ‘general needs’ home on the open market from a local authority, housing association or private landlord. To be considered for social housing or local authority housing, individuals have to be on the local authority housing waiting list. There is great demand for this kind of housing. General needs housing is most appropriate for people with milder learning disabilities.

Some learning disability providers also have schemes where they lease from a private landlord and then let out the property to people with a learning disability. 

How do I contact my Local Authority?

Barnsley Council has a wide range of information on the Council website regarding housing options, you can get to tthe right place on the website by clicking the following link

You can look at our local Shared Lives scheme on the follwoing link

You can visit the adult social care section which explains how to get an assessment by clicking the following link

You can also call the Council switchboard on 01226 773300 and ask to be put through to the service you want to speak to.

How do I contact Berneslai Homes and what do they do?

Berneslai Homes are the Council’s housing company who manage 18,500 homes on their behalf.

We deliver the social housing service on behalf of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and this includes the following services.

Phone us about: rent, housing benefit or insurance; the Maintaining the Barnsley Homes Standard programme (our programme for improving homes); problems on your estate such as vandalism, antisocial behaviour; your tenancy; ending your tenancy; your housing application; mutual exchanges; renting a garage; making a complaint, comment or compliment; and warden service. 

General Enquiries 01226 775555

(Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturday 8am – 1pm).

Write to: PO Box 627, Barnsley, S70 9FZ.

rating button