Independence days for over-55s in King’s Cross
How new homes at landmark development are helping to solve the capital’s housing crisis
01 February, 2019 — By By Dan Carrier
THEY are new homes designed to a high specification in one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in London – and aimed solely at older people needing a little bit of extra help.
One Housing own and manage a number of new developments called Season, which offer assisted living homes for the over-55s. Two of the housing association’s blocks are in King’s Cross and Regent’s Park.
Season head Julie Chanel, who looks after a number of blocks across London and beyond, says the model One Housing has designed provides independent living spaces for older people that offer security and comfort.
One Housing was set up in 1966 to provide social housing in London and the south-east and has expanded in recent years. One of their new aims is to build and manage properties that help older people live independently, but with all the assistance they might need close to hand.
Ms Chanel said: “We work closely with local authorities. They offer people to us who they feel would benefit from living in one of our places.”
A One Housing panel decides whether a person is eligible for a new flat, based on an assessment of their care needs and depending on factors such as how much care they require each week and how independent they are.
With an ageing population and a continuing squeeze on affordable housing, projects such as Season – which is now in Camden, Haringey, Lewisham, Vauxhall, Oxfordshire and Essex – have specially built homes packed with mod cons and 24-hour carers available on site for when they are needed.
“Many older people do not like the idea of going to a rest home or a nursing home,” adds Ms Chanel. “These are not care homes. The people who live here are independent. You have your own front door and letter box, your own space, with kitchen, living space, bedroom and bathroom. “You sign a tenancy agreement like you would with any other flat.”
The homes have wide doorways and corridors for easy access, hand-rails, specially designed bathrooms and walk-in showers, lights that help those who are partially sighted and induction loops for those who are hard of hearing. They also have emergency alarms that residents can use if they need to call for help.
At Roseberry Mansions, in the heart of the new King’s Cross development, there are 40 One Housing flats. Built as part of an agreement with developers Argent, the project includes a laundry and communal spaces with a restaurant, where residents can enjoy a supper club if they want to socialise. Other benefits include carers who can come and cook for the resident in the comfort of their own flat.
“Often we will find an older person living in a three-bedroom council house with a garden they are struggling to look after,” says Ms Chanel.
“They want to remain independent but could do with a little more help, and the security of knowing someone is on hand if they are needed. Season provides this.”
It also frees up much-needed family homes for young people who are struggling with the cost of living – meaning local authorities can take people off their housing waiting lists and provide them with affordable homes.
Visit www.one housing.co.uk