Independent living

Your home and living situation should enable you to have as much independence as you can. This means making sure you have the right support to make this happen.

Housing Options

Living independently doesn’t mean living on your own or without any support. Each person will need a different amount of support to maximise their independence. For some, this means having support throughout the day and night. Others might only need occasional support for a few hours per week.

Some of the different housing options which might be available to you are:

Supported living

This means you have your own home and security through a tenancy agreement with the landlord (usually a housing association).

There are a variety of different supported living homes. Some are shared houses where you have your own bedroom and share the other living areas with other people with disabilities. Others are larger buildings where you have your own flat.

Support staff might be present all of the time or just visit when needed. Each supported living home has its own arrangements depending on who lives there and what their needs are.

Find out more about living in a supported living scheme on our REACH Standards document.

Shared Lives

In a Shared Lives scheme, you live with another family in their home and they provide care & support. There is a careful process for matching people together as well as ongoing support to make sure things are working well. Shared Lives can be for both short and long term arrangements.

Find out more about Shared Lives.

Staying in your family home

Everyone is different and moves out of the family home at different points in their life. If you are happy where you currently live with your family and it meets your needs, you might want to keep living with your family.

Some grants might also be available to adapt your home so you can continue living there.

Residential care

In the past, many people with disabilities lived in residential care homes. This has started to change with more people choosing other housing options. Residential care is now usually only considered in an emergency or where there are no other local options available.

Residential homes vary but are generally set up for people with similar disabilities. People usually have their own bedroom and share other parts of the home.

Renting from the council, a housing association or private landlord

Renting means that you pay someone else to live in a building they own. You can rent from:

  • a council,
  • a housing association
  • a private landlord or letting agent.

Depending on your circumstances you may be eligible for housing benefit to pay part or all of your rent.

When you rent, you need to sign a tenancy agreement. This is a contract between you and the landlord. It gives you the right to live in the home as long as you pay the rent, look after the home and keep to any rules in the agreement.

Buying your own home (called the ‘HOLD’ scheme)

It's possible to buy your own home but it’s important to speak to an organisation who specialise in home ownership for people with disabilities.

The HOLD scheme stands for ‘Home Ownership for People with Long-term Disabilities’. It is a government scheme designed to help people with a disability buy a home on a shared ownership basis.

The advantage of buying your own home is that it provides security for the long term. The challenges are that you need to have a deposit and money available to pay legal costs. For some people, their family might be able to help them with these costs.

Find out more about the HOLD scheme.

Support from adult social care

Wherever you decide to live, you might need support to meet your needs and work towards outcomes that are important to you.

We can assess whether you are eligible for support. We'll find out what your needs and strengths are. We'll then work with you to identify what is the best way to meet your needs and use your strengths. This might include a range of services including:

  • Support in your home
  • Day Services
  • Short Breaks or Respite
  • Local Community Activities

If you are eligible and have had an assessment, we'll offer you the choice of a Personal Budget to pay for your care and support.

One of the options for using your Personal Budget is to take the money yourself and buy your own support. This is called a Direct Payment. It can be more flexible in choosing services that better meet your needs and circumstances.

Depending on your circumstances, you might have to pay a contribution towards the cost of your support.

Decision making

It's important that you have as much control over your life as possible. We want to make sure that your voice is heard when decisions are being made which might affect you.

When you turn 16 you are presumed to have Mental Capacity. This means that you are able to make choices about your own life. It doesn’t mean you have to make decisions on your own without support.

Your family, friends and professionals will be there to support you. You might also want support from an Independent Advocate. They will be able to help you understand decisions and put forward your views.

Find out more about advocacy.

Some people might not have the capacity to make certain decisions. Where this might be the case, a Mental Capacity Assessment will be completed. The ‘Mental Capacity Act’ provides the principles and guidance in these situations.

Money management and benefits

Some people need help to make the most of their money. This could be advice on how to budget, getting the benefits you are entitled to or dealing with debts.

You may be able to receive help with your living and housing costs through benefits. This will depend on your own circumstances and the rules around who is eligible.

For more information, visit our benefits pages.

Help with transport

This helpful easy read transport guide is designed to help those with learning disabilities travel around Southampton. It includes information about planning your journey, using public transport and staying safe.