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Islington sheltered housing tenants fear blocks will turn into ‘hostels’ under planned changes

PUBLISHED: 08:27 21 September 2018 | UPDATED: 19:03 24 September 2018

Disabled and elderly residents in sheltered housing at Belmore House, one of the affected blocks, pictured in 2016.

Disabled and elderly residents in sheltered housing at Belmore House, one of the affected blocks, pictured in 2016.

Archant

Sheltered housing tenants in Islington fear planned cutbacks to the service could see people left to die in their flats.

Clarion Housing Group is consulting with people living in its 395 homes about a change of management from April next year.

The housing association says because the town hall stopped its £465,000 grant last year, it has no choice but to make its own savings.

The change from Clarion division Centra to LiveSmart would essentially swap the wardens in each building for a concierge, who would be stationed on the front desk and not make house calls.

But one person in a Clarion building in the north of the borough – one of 15 schemes affected across Islington – says that would turn their block of 52 homes into a hostel.

“The worry is somebody will be found dead because nobody will know,” they said.

“There will be no wardens – just someone on the front desk. There’s already smashed glass on doors that hasn’t been fixed for over a month.

“If this is what it’s like now we have a warden, what will it be like after? It will be like some kind of bail hostel.”

A minority of people who have live-in caretakers are unaffected by the proposed changes because that services is provided by Outward Care, not Clarion.

A Clarion spokesperson said: “Sheltered housing was previously funded by Supporting People funding, but the £465,000 payment per annum that covered Centra’s 15 schemes was withdrawn by the council.

“We have received zero Supporting People funding since April 2017.

“We are now consulting with residents on moving to a proven intensive housing model that is financially sustainable for the long-term.

“Our proposal is to move managerial responsibility for the scheme from Centra to the successful LiveSmart retirement housing model used by Clarion elsewhere. LiveSmart is an intensive housing management service which includes a concierge service and 24/7 emergency alarm system.”

They added: “Every resident will be offered a needs assessment before the transition and if needed, supported to access additional local services.”

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