Changes to Disabled Facilities Grant applications begin on 1 August
Release date: 31 July 2017
Local authorities across Gloucestershire are introducing new arrangements on 1 August to ensure that residents will continue to obtain the support and guidance that they require when making Disabled facilities grant (DFG) applications. This follows the closure of the county-wide home improvement agency (‘Mears - Safe at Home’) at the end of July.
Councils will still be responsible for processing grant applications, with input from Occupational Therapists providing specialist clinical advice. However, rather than residents being assigned builders and project managers for home improvements (as was done through the ‘Safe at Home’ scheme) Councils will now give people more choice in this matter.
The Councils will still ensure that specific advice is available for major adaptations and they will maintain a list of companies for this purpose.
Working together, the Councils are directing residents to a new user-friendly self-help Housing grants web page which will provide access to a central list of builders, equipment specialists and agents who are familiar with the grant processes. Eligibility for inclusion on the central list will require either a good track record for carrying out grant-related work or acceptable references.
The Councils will continue to ensure that close support is provided to vulnerable DFG applicants, including guidance on the processes and services that can meet their particular needs.
Cllr Stephen Hirst, Cotswold District Council’s Cabinet Member for Supporting People and Safeguarding, welcomes the new arrangements:
“Residents eligible for DFGs will be able to obtain the information they need to make choices about who they appoint to do the work and will also have more control over how and when the works are carried out.
“As well as helping residents with their DFG applications, the new website pages also provides more general guidance for home owners about repair and maintenance, and advice about other funds which may be available for improvements.”
If they wish, residents will also be able to appoint a project manager to assist them with more complicated and difficult home adaptations to their homes, with fees being covered by the grant (albeit some conditions will apply).
Please note that anyone applying for a DFG will still need to be referred by an Occupational Therapist. In the first instance, please contact the Adult Social Care Helpdesk on 01452 426868 to make a referral.