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The level of need in the population

Background papers: Lifestyle and wider determinants :: Housing and homelessness :: The level of need in the population

It is an urban area made up of five towns (Chatham, Gillingham, Rochester, Strood and Rainham) and extensive rural areas on the Hoo Peninsula and the area of Cuxton and Halling to the west of the M2. The population of Medway is younger than the average population age for England. However it has an increasing older person population. 15% of the total population have a long term illness. Single person households make up a third of all households in Medway and around 5% are from ethnic minority communities.

There are just over 110,000 dwellings in Medway at present, 85% of which are in the private sector. There are 16,328 affordable homes 3,056 of which are owned by the Council. Housing Associations own 13,272 with the majority being owned by mhs Homes (47%).

Housing Requirement and Delivery

The North Kent Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) provides an evidence base for Medway's housing requirement broken down by housing type and size. Although house prices have fallen since the peak in April 2008, the requirements still remain relevant due to the recovery in house prices to a similar level to November 2009.

  Total Housing Requirement
Annual Housing Requirement
Market Housing 9,522 529
Intermediate Housing 2,979 166
Social Housing 3,158 183
Table 1: Housing requirement 2008–2026
Figure 1: Demand for social housing
Figure 1: Demand for social housing
Figure 2: Demand for intermediate housing
Figure 2: Demand for intermediate housing

In June 2011, 9,912 households had asked to be placed on the Housing Register. Households have their housing situation assessed and a suitable priority awarded. There are currently 1,066 households identified as having urgent or high housing needs and of these, nearly 90 are homeless households in Temporary Accommodation and 200 are living in overcrowded accommodation.

The demand for affordable housing in Medway outstrips the supply and it has been calculated that our housing need is for the delivery of 349 new affordable homes every year. However, we have estimated that our affordable housing programme will deliver 204 affordable homes each year. This leaves a shortfall of 145 homes per year, which will be addressed by using our existing stock more effectively.

Specialist Accommodation Need

We want to support people to remain in or work towards independent living, helping them to participate in mainstream society and make a contribution to the local economy. We hope to achieve this by looking at a range of opportunities to help improve access to different types of housing, delivering services to peoples homes and where appropriate developing purpose built specialist accommodation to meet needs. For the future we will focus our work on assisting people to live independently with support. We will also need to consider affordability issues for people to move into appropriate accommodation. We have identified a need to undertake further research into the housing and support needs of certain client groups - in particular people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health problems and people who are deaf and have sensory problems.

In regards to people with Learning Disabilities, we have used the Valuing People Now Housing Commissioning Toolkit to build up a picture of the current situation in terms of housing demand and supply. The toolkit is intended to assist local authorities with their partners to plan effectively for the housing requirements of local people with learning disabilities and to be able to deliver a wider range of housing options in practice. It is intended to assist local authorities to deliver the objective of more people with moderate to severe learning disabilities living in their own homes. A comprehensive understanding of the future housing needs of people with learning disabilities is a core component of having a plan to extend housing options and choices. It is hard to plan services and accommodation if the housing need is not known. We have been working with Adult Social Care to cross match clients known to them with those on the Housing Register. We are extending this work to look at clients with physical disabilities and mental health issues.

Actions 2011–14

• Deliver 10 fully wheelchair compliant homes per year
• Deliver 9 homes specifically designed for clients with Learning Disabilities
• Provide at least 150 households with major adaptations within their home through our Home Adaptations Service
• Through the HomeSafe scheme provide minor works, safety and security checks to allow 2,700 vulnerable people to feel safe within their own homes
• Assist 3,940 vulnerable households to undertake adaptations, repairs and improvements to their home
• Work with the Institute of Public Care and Adult Social Care to undertake housing needs analysis on a range of client groups including those with dementia and learning disabilities
• Deliver a minimum of 100 extra care units by 2013 and identify development opportunities to meet the additional demand.

Older Persons' Accommodation

While residential care is the preferable option for some people, it is not the solution for everybody. As promoting choice and independence are key themes in national and local priorities, we are working to develop alternatives to residential care. By improving the housing offer in Medway we can enable people to make choices about the type of accommodation they would like to move in to. In 2009–10, 289 people aged 65 and over were admitted to permanent residential or nursing care purchased or provided by Medway Council. The Older People Strategic Plan 2010–13 identifies the long-term objective to ensure that all appropriate people can access Extra Care Housing as an alternative to residential care. Although we have a number of schemes currently in the pipeline or on-site, there is currently no Extra Care Housing in Medway. Analysis carried out by the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes indicated a need for between 445 and 453 units of Extra Care Housing to match the requirements of the current older population.