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Govt ramps up funding for home adaptations

The Government is increasing funding for home adaptations for the disabled and measures to protect against 'cowboy' builders.

Communities Minister Baroness Andrews announced an the increases in the Disabled Facilities Grant as part of a package of measures designed at helping people live independently in their own homes for longer.

The DFG will increase by £25 million for 2008/09, an increase of 20 per cent, taking central Government funding up to £146 million.

Around 35,000 older and disabled people already receive DFG support every year. Adaptations funded include improved access to homes, such as widened doors, and basic facilities within a home, like a track and hoist.

The Government also announced plans to strengthen Home Improvement Agencies, the locally based not-for-profit organisations that help homeowners and tenants renting private housing repair and maintain their homes.

Communities minister Baroness Andrews said: “This package of funding and initiatives will help people make the right choices for them and not feel pressured into moving into sheltered housing or residential care.

“We want to ensure that older people have the best possible advice on their housing options and to help them live independently for as long as possible. Living longer should mean living well, not more years spent in accommodation unsuitable for those with a chronic illness or disability.”

HIAs advise people on improvements and adaptations which they may need to their homes and assist them in applying for local authority grants or loans to carry out the required work. They also help to identify reputable local contractors, helping vulnerable people to avoid ‘cowboy’ builders. They then oversee the work to ensure that their clients are completely satisfied.