A fund that provides grants for disability adaptations and home improvements has been expanded to include a wider range of services.
North Devon Council’s financial policy for the Better Care Fund was amended on Monday 6 March during its Strategy and Resources Committee meeting. The policy relates to Disabled Facilities Grants and other home improvement grants; the purpose is to support disabled and older people to be independent, enabling carers to continue their role safely, preventing accidents and helping people to return from hospital.
The changes to the policy (which will come into effect from 1 April) will significantly enhance the services currently being provided in a variety of ways, which include increasing the scope of certain grants, removing means testing for particular adaptations and increasing the maximum grant limits within the discretionary funding available.
The grants available are: Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant; Stairlift Grant; Bathroom Adaptation Grant; Accessible Homes Grant – General; Accessible Homes Grant – Contribution; Accessible Homes Grant – Moving; Healthy Homes Grant; Warm Up Grant.
Lead Member for Housing at North Devon Council, Councillor Nicola Topham says: “There are many reasons that residents could benefit from help to pay for adaptations and improvements to their homes, especially at the current time when the country is the midst of a cost of living crisis. Our grants can vastly improve the quality of life of vulnerable and disabled people and their families, enabling them to stay in their homes – and where staying is not an option, we may also be able to help people to move. I’d urge anyone who would like to make adaptations or improvements to their home to check their eligibility to find out if they can receive this grant funded support.”
Examples of work that could be covered by a grant include widening of doors, installing ramps and stair lifts and replacing baths with level access showers.
Residents can apply for a disabled facilities grant if they own their home, rent from a private landlord or housing association or live with family. The amount of grant will depend on the applicant’s income, savings and investments. Those in receipt of certain benefits may not have to make any contribution towards the cost of the works.
The first step in being awarded a grant is to contact Care Direct at Devon County Council on 0345 1551 007 (or the Integrated Children’s Service on 0330 024 5321) to arrange for an Occupational Therapist to visit.
The Occupational Therapist will assess the applicant’s needs for an adaptation and if a disabled facilities grant is recommended they will provide a referral to the council.
More information is available on the North Devon Council webpage on Housing Grants and Loans.