Independent Living schemes (also known as sheltered housing) are a type of housing specially designed for older people who wish to live independently in their own flats.
The purpose is to enable residents to remain independent for as long as possible. Residents are not supervised. They have their own key to their own front door and may come and go as they please.
Residents in Independent Living schemes are secure tenants like any other council tenant with similar rights and responsibilities. However, they cannot assign the tenancy to any other family member and they do not have a right to buy.
What are the benefits of Independent Living schemes?
Independent Living residents usually manage for themselves but they have the advantage of support in the form of extra security, and a 24-hour call system for use in case of an emergency or assistance. An Independent Living Officer is also on duty from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday to manage the scheme and to assist residents who may need it.
Independent Living does not:
- Provide care or support facilities such as 24/7 on-site staff or personal carers
- Accommodate families – only single people or couples can live in the flats
What does the Independent Living Officer do?
As well as helping you with tenancy issues such as paying your rent, Independent Living Officers are also responsible for the day-to-day management of the scheme. This includes the security, fire safety, maintenance and repair of communal areas. They can also provide information about housing, support and accessing care services.
Independent Living Officers do not provide care services or do things such as shopping for people who live in the scheme. They are not nurses and cannot give any medication. They cannot do minor household repairs and are not involved in residents’ financial affairs.
Facilities and activities within Independent Living schemes
Flats in independent living schemes are designed to meet the needs of older people. Some of the main features are level access, lifts, wide corridors and good lighting. There is central heating to individual flats and all communal areas. Doors are wide enough for people who need to use wheelchairs or walking aids.
Every scheme has a laundry room with washing and drying machines. The following activities are available giving residents a chance to socialise with other residents when they choose:
- Coffee mornings
- Fish and chip suppers
- Exercise classes
Rent and service charge
Independent Living residents pay a monthly service charge on top of their rent which is for:
- the enhanced support provided by the Independent Living Officer
- looking after the shared areas in and around the building which includes cleaning, gardening and repairs
- an emergency alarm call system
Depending on your income and savings you may be able to receive housing benefit or income support and pay reduced council tax. Lewisham Council will advise you about this when you join the housing register.
Many of our schemes have guest rooms available for use by relatives or friends wishing to stay overnight. This may be useful if you become ill and need to be cared for by a family member or have family or friends who live outside the area.
There is a charge for renting a guest room. You can apply online or speak to your Independent Living Officer.
Who can apply for Independent Living?
Our Independent Living schemes are designed for people over 60. If you or your partner are over 60 and are Lewisham residents you may be eligible.
How do I apply?
To apply for Independent Living, please contact the Housing Management team:
Telephone: 0800 028 2 028 – option 5
Independent Living scheme map
We manage 18 Independent Living schemes, which provide around 500 individual homes for older residents. This map shows where our Independent Living schemes are located across Lewisham.
Contact Independent Living Team
Telephone: 0800 028 2 028 – option 5, option 6
Useful information for older residents