Blog: Why older people’s housing is where it’s at

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Posted 14 April 2021

For a start, older people’s housing is a growing market.

According to the Office for National Statistics, on average, a man aged 65 can expect to live for another 18.6 years, while a woman can expect to live for 21 more years. So, at age 65 years, women still have a quarter of their lives left to live and men just over one fifth.

People are generally living longer and want to remain independent for longer, and Housing 21’s Retirement Living and Extra Care housing enables older people of modest means to do just that.

Older people’s housing is politically relevant

As guidance published by the government’s Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government states, “the need to provide housing for older people is critical”.

“Offering older people a better choice of accommodation to suit their changing needs can help them live independently for longer, feel more connected to their communities and help reduce costs to the social care and health systems.

“Therefore, an understanding of how the ageing population affects housing needs is something to be considered from the early stages of plan-making through to decision-taking.”

There is also a dedicated All-Party Group for Housing and Care for Older People, set up in 2015, because proving adequate housing and care for this part of the population is such a complex and important task. This group recently published the findings of their inquiry into housing for people living with dementia and we’re working with other housing providers to embed the recommendations into the housing and services we provide.

At Housing 21 we are at the forefront of this work, and to understand the challenges we face as an organisation, our team members grow to understand how older people’s housing fits into the wider housing market. They also gain a much better insight into what it means to deliver homes that truly meet the needs of the people who live in them.

Exciting things happening at Housing 21

At Housing 21, we have recently agreed our new Development Strategy, which outlines our plan to deliver at least 800 new homes per annum.

These homes will be in a mix of urban, rural and co-housing schemes, giving our development team the opportunity to work on developments in a wide range of sites and locations, up and down the country.

Housing 21 has newly appointed board members, as well as new executive team members – it’s all happening here, and the development team has the opportunity to real rise to the challenges set by a really ambitious, purpose-driven group of people.

All of the rented homes delivered by us at Housing 21 will be let on a formula rent, meaning that high quality homes, where older people can stay healthy and happy, are affordable.

A great place to start

Housing 21’s development team is full of people who have a background in a diverse range of development settings, not just in older people’s housing. We want to attract a whole range of different people, with an array of experiences, all of which contribute to our delivery of outstanding developments.

Working in older people’s housing at Housing 21 gives new recruits good, solid experience in the key skill areas for development including relationship-building and networking. Team members work in many different local authority areas and with various development partners, so they get to take part in excellent stakeholder engagement. Transferable skills such as project management, understanding the Homes England process, engaging with statutory planners on complex delivery models and the interface between construction and operations teams are standard parts of the day to day role of the team members.

The public facing facilities within our developments ­– including hairdressers, cafes and shops – are often open to members of wider communities, giving development team members useful experience in the delivery of community and commercial spaces.

Indeed, former members of Housing 21’s development team have gone on to work in a whole range of different roles, including in general needs housing associations and in private development.

Geographical flexibility

Housing 21’s development team members are never stuck in one geography – there’s always the opportunity to work on exciting new developments in different locations.

Our team members are agile workers, located in Kendal in Cumbria, Folkestone in Kent, and everywhere in between.

We’re one team, but we’re scattered across England. The need for older people’s housing is not confined to one area of the country, so neither are we.

Debbie Hope

Head of Development

Interested in joining Housing 21's property development team? Find and apply for our latest vacancies on our job website.


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