Essex County Council (ECC) is investing up to £27.7 million to meet increasing demand for housing options that can support and enable older people to live independently.
ECC’s Independent Living programme will see 1,800 new Independent Living homes, with 24 hour care and support on-site, created around the county between now and 2021.
The investment will enable eligible older people in the county - who would otherwise be housed in residential care, or receive domiciliary care in a home of their own that may no longer meets their needs - to live independently.
Independent Living housing is also known as Extra Care or Assisted Living housing. Currently, there are only 429 homes of this type in Essex. The primary difference between Independent Living housing and other types of specialist housing for older people is the availability of 24-hour care and support on-site.
ECC’s investment is providing funding incentives to assist developers in delivering new Independent Living schemes. Each scheme contains around 60 flats. In addition to enabling older people to live independently, the investment will see ECC make long term financial savings through more efficient delivery of care to residents.
Independent Living homes are modern, spacious, easy to maintain and designed to meet residents’ changing needs. They feature: one or two bedrooms, living room, fitted kitchen, built in oven and electric hob and bathroom with en-suite access.
Schemes also include communal facilities such as: shared space and gardens, dining room, hairdressers, mobility scooter store, car park and guest rooms. All Independent Living housing is located within easy reach of local shops, services and public transport.
The first three Independent Living schemes to receive a funding contribution from are Rosebank Park, in Harwich, Beaumont House, in Walton on the Naze, and Cornell Court, in Saffron Walden.
Rosebank Park features 70 one and two bedroom Independent Living flats and opened in January 2017. Beaumont House features 60 one and two bedroom Independent Living flats and will open in early summer 2017. Cornell Court will feature 73 one and bedroom Independent Living flats and will open in spring 2018.
ECC is working with all district councils to identify suitable land for development to meet local demand for Independent Living housing.
To be eligible for Independent Living housing an individual must be aged 55 or over, have a care need of at least six hours per week and a family connection to the local area of the scheme.