The ExtraCare Charitable Trust welcomes the commitment in the Housing White Paper to work with housing providers and older people to deliver a greater supply and range of retirement accommodation.
Mick Laverty, chief executive of ExtraCare, said the charitable housing association would share its expertise in developing and running large-scale retirement villages that produce better outcomes for residents and save the taxpayer money.
Mick pointed to the inquiry into housing for older people launched last week by the Communities and Local Government select committee of MPs as an ideal means to explore cutting edge retirement accommodation.
Mick said: ‘The government has accepted that the current housing market is broken. Meanwhile, the CLG select committee has identified one of the biggest elephants in the room in 21st century housing. ExtraCare could not agree more that older people want a choice of homes for later life to help them live independently.
‘At ExtraCare Charitable Trust, we believe we have found a solution to providing retirement accommodation no matter what someone’s circumstances.’
Mick added: ‘If the government and the CLG select committee are able to help unlock more land to be used for retirement villages in urban centres, where many older people want to be, that would be a huge step towards solving the looming crisis in older people’s accommodation.’
Established in 1988, the Coventry-based charity operates 4,020 mixed-tenure homes in 31 retirement villages and schemes, care for those who need support to remain independent and provides an inspirational lifestyle for over 4,400 people aged 55 and over.
Mick highlighted three key areas in which ExtraCare is already making a difference:
– Helping older people to downsize and so freeing up much-needed family homes
– Working in partnership with local authorities, such as Birmingham City Council, to build modern, attractive homes in villages designed specifically to help older people live independently
– Ensuring a choice of new homes are available for older people of all incomes, not just those better-off
Mick said: ‘By working in partnership with local authorities, such as our £200-million investment in five villages in Birmingham, we have shown what can be achieved.
‘However, we are only touching the tip of the iceberg. We want to do more. Independent research with Aston University has shown our villages deliver outstanding outcomes in terms of residents’ health and wellbeing and reduces NHS costs by 38%.
‘Although we use our charitable status to ensure we deliver innovative care and support services, building the number of villages we would like to ensure more people benefit from this care is a real challenge.
‘Reductions in available local authority care funding mean it is difficult to successfully bid for more development sites in areas outside the South East of England. In the South East, higher house prices allow us greater flexibility in cross-subsidising our mixed-income approach.’