Published 6 August 2012
Following extensive consultation with residents and a local campaign group, Ealing Council has announced key improvements to its sheltered housing services.
Residents in the boroughs 37 sheltered housing schemes can now choose to have a personal visit at least once a week by an officer dedicated to their scheme. The aim is for residents and officers to get to know each other well, building trust and confidence through regular face-to-face contact.
All officers will work in small area-based teams, so residents can get to know senior officers and managers just as well. The teams will make monthly inspections to check facilities, discuss improvements and share ideas for activities such as health and wellbeing days.
Councillor Hitesh Tailor, Cabinet Member for Housing in Ealing says improving the sheltered housing service has been an Administration priority since being elected in May 2010.
As well as bringing the housing management service back in house, improving the sheltered housing service has been an absolute priority. It has been clear for some time that improvements are needed, and this is a key step in developing a service that works for both current and future sheltered housing residents.
Our new approach makes it far easier for residents to contact staff in various roles directly and to talk to them about the services we provide. This will not only give us invaluable information about what is working well and what could be improved, it will also give residents the opportunity to find out more about how we can help them. For example, our handyperson service can complete everyday maintenance tasks that elderly residents might struggle with, making it easier for them to live independently for longer.
Ealing is also providing its sheltered housing residents with a 24-hour umbrella service which does far more than monitor alarm calls and respond to emergencies. The service will also be able to contact officers on their rounds, chasing progress on other services such as repairs. Importantly this will be operated as a separate business unit so it will not take officers away from frontline services.
Ron Kirkwood, a sheltered housing resident and Chair of the Campaign for Action in Sheltered Housing said: As a result of an intensive consultation by Ealing Council over the past year, and the recommendations accepted by Cabinet, sheltered housing residents can look forward to improved services, which will have profound effect on the quality of their lives.
Ealing is also addressing the difficulties some sheltered housing residents experience when wishing to move because their needs have changed. The council will now give these residents priority status so they can move to more appropriate homes in the same or other schemes when properties become available.