Challenges in expanding the search for a suitable home

Housing Options Scotland is a third sector organisation offering housing information, advice and support to disabled people, older people, and members of the Armed Forces Community.

Tessa is an elderly lady who contacted Housing Options Scotland in November 2023. She told us that she had been in hospital for a long time, unable to return to her own home as it was no longer suitable for her, due to her now needing to use a wheelchair and the property was not accessible.

After speaking with one of our Housing Options Brokers, Tessa told us that she would be happy to move to another, neighbouring local authority close to one of her daughters. Her broker assisted her to make sheltered housing applications to her own local authority, as well as some neighbouring ones. 

Tessa was eventually made aware of an available sheltered property in a neighbouring local authority, with level access and a wet room which would be ideal for her, however an occupational therapist would need to assess the home to confirm this. However, her existing local authority would not assess the property as it was out of their area, and the new local authority wouldn’t do the assessment as Tessa was not a resident there yet. 

This left Tessa at an impasse. Neither local authority would assess the properties suitability. Tessa’s Housing Options Broker spent some time negotiating with both local authorities to come up with a solution. Eventually the local authority housing the property agreed to do the assessment.

This highlights one of the challenges posed by the removal of the local connection rule – in order for it to really work, local authorities need to be able to facilitate the transfer with both housing and social care. 

In this is instance, the property turned out to be unsuitable for Tessa, however a property was eventually found for her in her existing local authority, and she is now delighted to have moved out of hospital and into her new home.