Croydon Unite Retired members call for improvements to meeting older people’s housing needs

 Croydon Unite Retired Members Branch is calling for the London Mayor to appoint a Deputy responsible for the needs of older people to ensure their interests are properly taken into account across the portfolios of all the other Deputy Mayors. It is also calling on Croydon Council to consider a number of measures to improve its support for older people especially in the development of the 40,000 plus new homes now being required in Croydon by the London Mayor.

The branch has published a discussion paper The Housing Needs of the Elderly. It reviews the issues of concern about older people and housing. There is a three tier policy framework: national Government, the Mayor of London and local authorities.

The paper examines analysis and recommendations by the House of Commons, the Greater London Assembly and the position in Croydon.

It proposes a more interventionist approach to ensure that the complex housing needs of older people in Croydon are met, especially as the proportion of older people in the population is expected to increase.

It wants to see a comprehensive approach which improves the condition of housing in which older people live, in their ability to afford to keep warm, the adaptions needed to help them remain in their homes, and a range of housing options from moving to small homes, into sheltered and care homes as and when needed.

It notes that in a Croydon Council public consultation on regenerating Addington last autumn that three quarters of those responding strongly agreed or agreed with proposals to build new homes, with particular support for affordable housing and homes designed for older people. (Your Croydon. 6 March 2019)

The discussion paper was drawn up by a working party consisting of Dr Jay Ginn, John Eden and myself, and was accepted after discussion at the branch meeting held on 5 July.

The discussion paper has been submitted into the Council Local Plan 2018 Review, and sent to Croydon & Sutton GLA member Steve O’Connell, Croydon Voluntary Action Council, Croydon BME Forum and Croydon Age Concern. It is also to be sent to the London Mayor, Labour, Green and Lib Dem GLA members, and the three Croydon MPs and the Constituency Labour Parties.

Recommendations

  1. 1. That Croydon MPs work in the House of Commons to press the Government to adopt a national strategy on older people’s housing
  2. That the Mayor of London appoints a Deputy Mayor with responsibility for older people in order to mainstream issues for older people in the work of the other Deputies.
  3. That Croydon’s member on the Greater London Authority lobby for the appointment of a Deputy Mayor under 2.
  4. That trade union and Labour Party branches and older people’s organisations consider adopting resolutions for the appointment of a Deputy Mayor under 2. 5. That candidates for the Greater London Assembly elections in 2020 be asked to express publicly their support for the creation of a Deputy Mayor for Older People post by the Mayor of London.

The branch recommends that Croydon Council should:

  1. explain the reasons why long term places in residential care homes are lower in Croydon than elsewhere.
  2. monitor the projected older population rise because when the next baby boom cohort dies off, the rise in the number of older people may only be temporary.
  3. publish a strategy document explaining how it intends to meet the housing needs of older people in the Borough.
  4. set a target for the number of properties that need to be built

every year for older people in order to meet the current demand and the projected older population rise.

  1. review its Brick by Brick company to be sure it is democratically accountable, is meeting real housing needs, is building on brownfield sites and not green spaces, and that its future strategy includes identifying ways in which new housing it builds can be targeted to meet the needs of older people to move into smaller homes in their neighbourhoods, releasing some larger homes through the Council to families in housing need.
  2. find ways to include the views of older people in the design and location of housing under Recommendations 9 and 10 and in planning application decisions.
  3. improve the support and advice given to those wishing to move to small more appropriate homes in their neighbourhoods, with a particular emphasis of ensuring that those who wish to stay in their neighbourhood can do so.
  4. do more to identify and act to reduce fuel poverty among older people, including by insulation supported by the Council so the cost is affordable.
  5. ensure that its strategy on older people’s housing needs addresses the problems of greater levels of housing discrimination against certain sections of society, especially older women, minority elders, LGBT pensioners and older people with disabilities.
  6. analyse the possible link between housing conditions and low incomes and especially the low level of male life expectancy in Selhurst Ward, with a view to developing an action plan that seeks to increase male life expectancy in that ward.
  7. use the findings from 15 to take a similar approach in other wards with lower than average male life expectancy.
  8. publish the average life expectancy of women in each ward to determine whether there is a particular ward requiring analysis as in 15

The discussion paper can be  download here:

Housing needs of older people discussion paper

About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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