5.4 Sheltered Housing and Other Supported Housing

Full information on sheltered housing is available on this website.

What is sheltered housing?

 Sheltered housing usually describes easy to manage groups (or ‘schemes’) of properties, which are usually set aside for use by older people (or other people who may need it - for example, people with a physical / mobility disability). Sheltered housing is provided by the Council and housing associations, with a small number also in the private sector. It generally includes:

  • A sheltered housing warden service provided for the scheme. The warden offers a low level housing support service, visiting and advising tenants and checking on their well being on a daily basis.
  • A telecare system (otherwise known as a community alarm or help call), in every sheltered property. This is for use of the tenant in an emergency and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Mostly ground floor / accessible accommodation (although this is not always the case in more dated sheltered housing)

What is amenity housing?

Amenity housing is often very similar in design to sheltered housing and, like sheltered housing, is usually set aside for older people or people with a physical disability. However, no warden/ housing support service is provided although properties may have a telecare system (also known as community alarm or help call), for use in emergencies.

Some communities also have mainstream council or housing association rented housing which is also suitable for older people or those with mobility difficulties. For example level access bungalows, ground floor flats, and housing that has been adapted e.g. additional rails, stair lift, level access shower, and houses with downstairs bathrooms and other facilities.

How do I apply for social sheltered or amenity housing?

You can apply for sheltered, amenity and other appropriate mainstream housing in the same way as any other social housing – by using the Highland Housing Register Application Form which can be found at:
You only need to complete one form to apply for sheltered or amenity housing provided by the Council or the main housing associations in Highland. Further information about which housing associations are included in this can be found in Section 5.2.

How much rent will I pay in Sheltered Housing?

Council and housing association rents for sheltered housing units are the same as a mainstream house of an equivalent size (see Section 5.3 for more details).

However, the charge for the Warden Service is usually a separate charge, over and above the rent for the actual property (see also Section 10: Housing Support for more information).

Not everyone will pay the charge for the sheltered housing warden service. This will depend on your circumstances. Please see below for more details. 

What does the sheltered housing warden service cost and will I have to pay it?

The charge for the sheltered housing warden service varies depending on the provider (the Council or housing associations) and also sometimes depending on the scheme. Charges vary from approximately £2.00 per week (telecare only) to approximately £21.00 per week for telecare and warden service. You can ask about individual charging details if you are interested in a particular sheltered housing scheme.

You will not have to pay the warden charge at all if you are financially assessed as not being able to pay the charge. A financial assessment should always be offered to you. If you have been offered a sheltered housing tenancy and want to know what the charge might be before you accept it, you can ask for a pre-tenancy financial assessment.
This can be arranged through your Area Contracts Officer. Once arranged, a financial assessor will contact you and arrange a convenient time to meet with you. They will ask you to provide information about your income (including benefits income), and also capital or savings details so that they have all the information needed for the assessment.

What is Very Sheltered (or ‘extra care’) Housing?

‘Very sheltered’ housing (sometimes also called ‘extra care’ housing) is generally sheltered housing with the addition of extra services such as meals, domestic help and care, sometimes with the provision of on site staff 24 hours a day. There may also be communal areas and facilities, with housing linked to a central ‘hub’ of services. 

There is currently a limited number of very sheltered housing available in Highland. The Council does not provide very sheltered housing but there are currently 26 properties in the social housing sector, with further development possible in the future. If you wish to be considered for very sheltered housing provided by housing associations in Highland you should complete the normal Housing Application Form and indicate your preference by choosing ‘sheltered’ and / or ‘supported accommodation’. The Housing Application Form also indicates which provider offers sheltered, amenity, very sheltered housing etc. 

For more information on very sheltered or extra care accommodation you should contact your local Housing & Property Office.

What is Supported Housing?

Supported housing is accommodation where support, advice or counselling is provided to the people who live there. This support aims to help them live independently and / or to continue staying in their tenancy. The residents have particular needs, for example: learning disabilities, mental health issues, vulnerable to homelessness etc. Sometimes they have particular needs because they are young and wouldn’t be able to cope with their own tenancy.

Examples of supported housing can be seen below. You can sometimes receive support provided to you in your own home without moving to supported accommodation. Section 10: Housing Support deals with this in more detail.

Housing Associations with Special Needs / Supported Housing

  • Hanover and Trust Housing Associations provide housing for older people.
  • Key HA provides housing for people with learning disabilities.
  • Blackwood Homes provides housing for people with physical disabilities.
  • Albyn HS have some amenity and wheelchair housing
  • Cairn HA have sheltered, amenity and wheelchair housing
  • Birchwood Highland provide registered residential supported accommodation for people with mental health problems.

What other options are there for residential or supported accommodation?

There are other options for supported housing such as that offered by Abbeyfield Housing Association in Badenoch & Strathspey, Inverness, Nairn and Ross. This is supported accommodation in a shared house with private facilities for residents and shared lounge / dining facilities with two meals a day provided by staff. 

There are also residential and supported accommodation establishments provided by the Council, housing associations and other voluntary organisations. The private sector also provides residential and supported accommodation for people with special residential and respite care needs. This includes:

  • older people and frail elderly people
  • adults with mental health problems
  • people who have been homeless
  • adults with physical and/or learning disabilities
  • children and young adults with a learning disability
  • young people
  • ex-offenders
  • people with alcohol or drug related problems
  • combinations of these and more specialist requirements

How do I find out more about residential accommodation for people with learning or physical disabilities?

More details on the above can be obtained from NHS Highland or the Highland Council’s Health and Social Care Service.

More information on support services and how to access them can also be found in the Homelessness Directory 'Streetwise'

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