Supported and Sheltered Housing
Sheltered housing is a flat or bungalow especially designed and
built with the needs of elderly people in mind.
Who can apply for sheltered housing?
Any person of pensionable age who feels the need for
some support. The Council's main responsibility is towards
applicants who currently live within the Council's boundaries. Your
application will also be considered if you used to live in the
Council area, or if you have relatives who currently live here. If
you do not have any connection with this area, you may still
register as, from time to time, it is possible to allocate
sheltered housing to those who wish to live in this area.
How do I apply?
You can apply for Sheltered Housing by contacting your local
Council (please see below for details). They will be able to send
you an application form to join their Housing Register (or Waiting
List) and also provide you with information about Landlords or
Organisations who provide sheltered housing services in your
For Bedford Borough Council on Tel:(01234) 221786 Fax (01234)
or contact Bedford Pilgrims Housing Association on (01234)
If you are already in the Council's Housing register you can simply
request a revision form and indicate on it that you are interested
in being considered for sheltered housing.
What will happen when I apply?
Once your application has been accepted onto our
housing register, it is awarded a number of points to reflect the
conditions in which you live. Points are given for factors such as
medical conditions, overcrowding and lack of modern facilities, as
well as length of time on the housing register.
The total points score of each applicant is then used as a guide in
allocating properties. Whenever possible a housing officer will
visit you in your own home to discuss your situation and talk to
you about where you would like to live.
Your application from housing will be given every consideration and
an offer of sheltered housing will be made when possible. This may
not happen quickly and the Community
Alarm Systems may bring peace of mind to you and your
family in the mean time.
If you would like further information about Community Alarms
please contact your local council on the numbers given
What happens if I am offered a place?
Any offer of accommodation will be confirmed in
writing. Should you wish to view the scheme and meet the warden
this can be easily arranged.
Once you have signed the tenancy acceptance form you will enjoy all
the rights and privileges of a secure or assured
You will also have a secure or assured tenant's
responsibilities, paying your own rent, running your home and
providing your own meals. You may be eligible for Housing Benefit
to help towards your rent and Supporting People grant to help
with your support or alarm costs. Please contact your local
Council's Housing Benefit Section, or your Supporting People
Team for more details:
Bedford Borough Council – 01234 718097
You are expected, with the help of your friends and relatives, to
make your own arrangements for moving in, and to meet the cost of
doing so - just like any other house move. Your landlord will
advise you about arrangements for your gas and/or electricity
You may be asked to move in at short notice, possibly two weeks,
although we do try to give as much advance notice as
What this means is that you will keep; and for as long as possible
be encouraged to maintain, your own independence. In sheltered
housing you will not be a resident in an old people's home and you
will be free at all times to come and go as you please.
You are simply asked to let the warden know if you intend to be
away overnight or if you will not be there at then time of the
normal daily rounds when the warden calls regularly each
When is the warden or scheme manager on duty?
Different organisations have different arrangements
for wardens/scheme managers, and not all schemes have an onsite
warden/schemes manager. Your service provider will explain
arrangements to you.
Even if there is no warden/scheme manager on site, there is always
access to assistance via the Alarm system which is available 24
hours per day, 7 days per week.
Does the warden hold information about me?
Yes, the names, addressed and telephone numbers of
your next-of-kin and close friends, your doctor and any relevant
details of your health are kept by the warden, and the central
control office. This is a confidential record and its purpose is to
enable contact to be made with the appropriate person in the event
of illness or an accident, or any other problem.
What is the warden's role?
This may vary depending on the organisation, but
generally the warden is there to provide support or assistance when
needed and to help you if there is an emergency.
Wardens are practical and understanding people, sympathetic to the
problems of ageing. They are carefully recruited and trained to
encourage you to look after yourself and to lead an active
independent life. When on duty the warden's primary task is to
respond to an emergency as quickly and efficiently as possible, so
that in the event of an illness or a fall, or some other crisis,
you can quickly get help.
In an emergency, it is the warden's job to take the first action.
It may be something that can easily be put right there and then; if
not the warden may have to call your relatives, your doctor; or
other professional help that may be needed.
If you need home care services, meals on wheels or special
household aids, the warden will try to help you obtain them by
contacting the local Social Services office for you. The duty
warden will normally call on you once a day to ensure you are
If you are unwell or in need of urgent assistance when a Warden is
unavailable, a person at Central Control will contact a member of
your family or a friend to visit you. If it is an emergency and you
are in need of urgent assistance, they will quickly arrange
At Category II schemes the warden on duty will hold a pass key to
open your door; but it is only used in an emergency or with your
clear permission. Otherwise, no warden may enter your home unless
you invite him or her to do so. At Category I schemes the warden
will only hold keys at the tenant's request.
Are there things a warden does not do?
Wardens are not employed to perform duties for which
statutory or voluntary bodies exist, or which are the
responsibility of relatives living nearby.
Wardens are not nurses - if you need regular medical treatment your
doctor can arrange for you to have visits from a community Nurse.
Neither are wardens permitted to administer drugs and medicines.
Wardens are not there to do domestic chores such as cleaning,
cooking, providing meals and shopping.
They may help for residents to do these things for themselves, or
to make arrangements. There is a strict instruction that wardens
cannot look after you money valuables and money.
A warden may carry out some of these tasks on a purely temporary
basis, as part of an emergency response. But he or she can only be
expected to do so for a limited time until help is available from
other sources. It is important to remember that generally only one
warden is on duty at any one time and there are many other people
in the scheme for whom the warden must offer a similar service.
How do I contact the warden in an emergency?
Each scheme is equipped with a modern warden alarm
system. All you need to do is to pull one of the special alarm
cords or press the button on your pendant alarm and the warden will
speak to you. You need only to pull the cord, or press the button
once and when the warden answers you can say what is wrong from
wherever you are in your bungalow or flat. If you cannot speak you
can be assured the warden will come quickly to see what has
happened. The same applies if you have a mishap in one of the
What if the warden is away?
Again this will vary depending on the
If the warden is away at any time then the scheme alarm is switched
to central control. In that case, an operator will, if they deem it
necessary, call your doctor; relatives or friends to help you will
answer your call.
What is Contact Care?
The Council has set up an alarm system to help any
elderly and disabled people within the area who feel they need to
be able to contact someone quickly in an emergency.
Most sheltered housing schemes are connected to the contact care;
so whenever the warden is away, a single pull on your alarm cord
will bring help.
Also anyone living in the area can have an alarm if they need one
and it will be connected to contact care control where specially
trained operators are on duty day and night throughout the year.
There is always someone there to answer calls.
Is there a scheme doctor?
No. Each tenant has his or her own doctor. Of course
if your are moving into the area you may have to change your
present arrangements, but it is up to you which local doctors list
you apply to join.
What other facilities are available?
There is a pay-phone in the communal areas of some
schemes. It is entirely up to residents whether or not they have a
private telephone in their home. The tenant would be responsible
for its cost.
Most schemes do not have a communal television set. However, if you
have your own television you may qualify for a Concessionary
Licence Fee. The warden will advise you if this is the case.
In most schemes you will be responsible for all internal decoration
and cleaning, including your windows, although the outside of your
windows will be cleaned by Council contractors. External decoration
is the landlord's responsibility and will be done by this Council
on a regular programme.
The landscaped areas are also cared for by this Council. In some
locations it is possible for tenants to have a small area of garden
to tend outside their flat or bungalow, but please check with the
The Service Provider is also responsible for most repairs to the
property, and they will advise you how to report any repairs or
Who will pay my rent?
You are responsible for paying your rent.
You may be eligible for help to pay your rent and Support or Alarm
costs. For further information contact the Housing Benefits
Sections or Supporting People on the numbers given above.
How secure is my sheltered home?
Service Providers maintain their sheltered
accommodation to very high standards. The doors are fitted with
good quality locks.
Some people like to fix additional locks or chains, but you must be
aware that by doing this they may keep the warden out in an
emergency. The master key, when it has to be used, will open you
door and admit the warden, but he or she cannot get in quickly to
help you if there are other locks and chains on the door and you
cannot release them yourself.
The warden-call alarm is there and should be used without
hesitation if you are at all suspicious of anyone trying to gain
admission to your home.
Legitimate callers and all official visitors carry official
identification. You should always ask to see this and check it
carefully before admitting anyone you do not know.
Remember: If in doubt - do not open your door, pull the
Can I keep a pet?
As a general rule, permission should be sought for a
pet other than a caged bird such as a budgerigar. If you have a
well behaved small dog or cat you may be able to bring it with you
should you move to a sheltered bungalow with its own access to the
However, if you are going to a sheltered flat with an access
corridor shared with your neighbour, conditions are not considered
suitable for a dog or cat and if, you have one, you should make
other arrangements for it before moving. If you have a pet it is
your responsibility and you must make arrangements to have it
adequately cared for if you go away or become ill. The warden will
not look after your pet for you.
Can I invite guests to stay from time to time?
At most schemes we are able to offer guest room
accommodation to relatives and friends of sheltered housing
tenants. There is a small charge for each night and short term
facilities such as tea making and possible use of the laundry (if
available) are provided.
If you would like to have details of the nearest scheme with a
guest room please ask your warden who can make the necessary
arrangements for booking.
What happens in the communal lounge?
To some extent it is up to you. Tenants use the room
for meetings, clubs, social and recreational activities, or just to
meet up for a cup of tea and a chat. It is up to you and your
neighbours to decide what you want and to arrange it if you wish.
The wardens are willing to help in this and to encourage a wide
range of activities and outings.
All schemes are encouraged to invite the elderly neighbours living
outside sheltered housing to events in the communal lounge.
Most schemes have an Amenity Fund which is used to help pay for
social occasions like parties and outings. Most of the money in the
fund comes from various money raising activities in which you may
wish to take part.
Is my dwelling covered by insurance?
Insurance of buildings is, of course, the
responsibility of the landlord. But you are solely responsible for
insuring your household contents and possessions and you are
strongly advised to take out household contents and
What if I want to move?
Again, it is your home. Like any other secure tenant
you can give 28 days notice to terminate your tenancy and move out
if you so wish. There may be a good reason why you wish to move to
another Council dwelling. If so the Housing Services Section will
try to help you through its Transfer Register, or if it is to
another Council area through the Homes Nomination Scheme. However,
because of difficulties of availability a swift move may prove
If you are living as a couple and one of you dies, the surviving
partner will not be required to move, even if your dwelling is
designed for two people. However, if the surviving partner is below
pensionable age or if the accommodation is specifically designed
for a disabled person and the surviving partner does not need those
facilities, the Council may offer suitable alternative
What if I am dissatisfied with the sheltered housing
If you are dissatisfied with the service you, should,
in the firs instance, talk to the warden who may be able to put
matters right there and then, if it is a more serious matter, the
Housing Assistant (Sheltered Housing) who should regularly visit
each scheme. Part of her / his job is to see the scheme runs
smoothly in line with the Council's policies and you can arrange to
see him or her at any time. The warden can help you to do
Local Government Ombudsman
Unhappy with the way the Council has dealt with your
complaint? Visit the website at www.lgo.org.uk
The Local Government Ombudsman is an independent person who
investigates allegations of maladministration causing injustice to
the person who has complained.
The Ombudsman investigates complaints about most council matters
including housing, planning, education, social services, and
The Ombudsman who deals with this Council is at:
Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Tel: 0300 061 0614 or 0845 602 1983
Fax: 024 7682 0001
Text ‘call back’ to 0762 480 4299
Further information can be obtained at the
following contact details:
Tel : 01234 228439
Fax : 01234 228128
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org