The Age-Friendly Housing Charter

A central cross-cutting piece of work is the development of a Greater Manchester Age-Friendly Housing Charter that will set out a practical guide of considerations when developing new homes and retrofitting and investing in existing homes, to deliver age-friendly homes.

The charter will build on existing standards, such as the HAPPI principles (Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation), the work of the Good Home Inquiry, HoME Coalition and our evidence base, to reflect a local agenda and the views and experiences of residents in later life.

Once developed the Age-Friendly Housing Charter will be promoted to local authorities, housing providers, developers, architects and planners. Where homes meet the requirements of the charter, formal recognition will celebrate the accreditation.

Man interacting with tablet device

Greater Manchester Housing Providers (GMHP) held a workshop in July 2021 to articulate the key messages of this framework, provide opportunities for discussion of priorities to identify the role that Housing Providers can play and encourage housing provides to sign up to support delivery of each of the five themes. Representatives from 25 Housing Providers attended.

The key role that Housing Providers can play in realising the ambitions across each of the themes and the opportunities for collaborating with each other and more widely across the sector were clearly supported.

A network of age-friendly leads and contacts across GMHP has been formed to deliver communication and increase opportunities for collaboration and sharing practice. GMHP will be outlining further their contribution to this work as a sector and within task and finish groups for each of the themes.

1. Embedding ageing in all our housing strategy and delivery

We want to ensure that our ambitions for age-friendly homes are firmly embedded across the strategy and policy landscape of Greater Manchester and the commitments are consistently reflected in local housing strategy and planning documents, maximising their effectiveness. Whilst recognising that many are already ahead of the game, we believe we can do more and we want to create challenge that promotes innovative thinking and local responses.

This will include actions to:

  • Establish the supply gap for ‘rightsizing’ by developing an evidence base on the (numbers) need and demand for housing from ageing households, particularly within affordable housing requirements and the scale of improvements and adaptations required; capturing updates through Local Housing Need Assessments.
  • Work with local authorities to support action and innovation in local housing approaches, promoting the Greater Manchester Age-Friendly Housing Charter and its inclusion within local housing strategy documents, local actions and plans and planning conversations. Support the development of Supplementary Planning Guidance for delivering homes and neighbourhoods for later life in each local authority.
  • Ensure that as Greater Manchester further develops plans for integrated health and care services, plans prioritise programmes that improve housing and health for older people, working with the Housing and Health programme.
  • Track progress on our ambitions within the Greater Manchester Housing Strategy Implementation Plan and ensure that our ambitions are reflected when the Greater Manchester Housing Strategy is refreshed.

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership Housing and Health Programme has been developed in recognition of the impact good housing can have on our health and wellbeing and to provide a coherent offer which integrates housing into health and social care delivery within the Partnership. The programme is underpinned by an understanding that poor housing, unsuitable housing and precarious housing circumstances affect our physical and mental health. This understanding has driven forward extensive activity in relation to delivery of supported housing, health system support to people experiencing homelessness and creating better collaboration between housing and mental health.

This framework to create age-friendly homes intersects with specific future priorities of the programme which we will seek to deliver in partnership, under the Greater Manchester Tripartite Agreement, Better Homes, Better Neighbourhoods, Better Health. This includes an improved and upscaled offer of specialist housing for older people, delivery of the Housing and Dementia framework and demonstrating the value of consistent Home Improvement Agency provision across Greater Manchester.