Sheltered housing FAQs

Sheltered housing offers people aged 60+ independent living in a smaller, easier-to-manage home, with support. There are a number of sheltered housing schemes in York.

Find out more by reading answers to the following sheltered housing FAQs (frequently asked questions):


What is sheltered housing?

Sheltered housing gives older people the independence of having their own private accommodation with the security of having an alarm system and a Scheme Manager on site, Monday to Friday.

Our sheltered houses are near to local shops and other amenities so you can still get out and about.

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Is sheltered housing like an old people’s home/care home?

Not at all. Unlike an older person’s home/nursing home/residential care home - you actually have your own private home with its own front door, living areas, bathroom and bedroom.

There are also communal areas where you can chat with friends over a coffee, and access hairdressers and laundry facilities.

You can choose to be involved or take part in things that happen locally in your scheme - it's up to you and what you want to do.

Every tenant is encouraged to have a say in how the schemes are run and regular activities are held for you to take part and join in, if you want to.

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Who can move into sheltered accommodation?

You have to be aged 60 years or over to be eligible for our sheltered accommodation. In very exceptional circumstances we can accept people slightly younger, for example if you have a serious disability.

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What sort of accommodation is provided?

Our flats and bungalows are fully self-contained, with their own kitchen, bathroom, living and bedrooms. You have your own front door and can come and go as you please. However, you also benefit from the additional security of a 24-hour community alarm system, which is connected to all the flats/bungalows.

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Is the sheltered accommodation furnished?

No, all our flats and bungalows are unfurnished.

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How secure is my sheltered home?

All sheltered schemes have door entry systems and all homes have doors fitted with good quality locks.

Scheme managers may have a duplicate key or master key, which they would only use in an emergency.

The community alarm system should be used anytime if you are at all suspicious of anyone trying to gain entry 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 cord!

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Can applicants visit the schemes?

Applicants are welcome to contact the scheme manager and visit our scheme to look what they offer. You can bring your friends and family to look at our facilities as well.

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Who is responsible for any repairs that become necessary?

The council as your landlord is responsible for the repair and maintenance of your home, although this does not include your personal fixtures and fittings.

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How do I report repairs?

To report a repair you can phone the Housing Repairs Team, Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5pm. Let them know your address and what the problem is. You can find their contact details on the right sidebar.

The phone lines can be busy so please keep holding on until you get through.

If you have an emergency repair at the weekend or after 5.00pm Monday to Friday you can ring the emergency out of hour’s repairs number. You can find this on the right sidebar of this page.

If you have difficulty reporting a repair your scheme manager can support you with this.

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What is the handyperson service?

Yorkshire Housing provide a Handyperson Service to help with those little extras that are not included in your repairs service, such as:

  • changing light bulbs
  • putting up shelves and pictures
  • hanging curtains
  • putting together small items of flat pack furniture

The handyperson service may be free or subsidised - contact the York Handyperson Service for more details.

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How do I use the community alarm system?

When you move into your new home the scheme manager will show you how to use the community alarm system.

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What if I press my alarm by mistake?

Don’t worry – just tell the operator that you activated the alarm by mistake and that you are okay.

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I’m worried that my equipment isn’t working. What do I do?

Your scheme manager will check the community alarm system regularly to make sure your pendant is working so that you feel safe and secure. You can ask your scheme manager to check the system anytime.

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How will you know what support I need?

When you have moved in, your scheme manager will complete a support plan with you.

This will identify any support requirements you may have, and put you in touch with support organisations that may be required.

Your scheme manager will ask for your doctor’s name and that of your next of kin. If you are taken ill or your support needs change, we will update your support plan to make sure any changes are made.

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Can I get personal care?

Yes. Social care will need to carry out a social care assessment to tell us how much care you will need to support you in your home.

Contact the Customer Access and Assessment Team (see contact details in right sidebar on this page) who will arrange for social care to carry out an assessment. The social care assessment will tell us if you qualify for sheltered accommodation with extra care and the level of care needed, which can be low, medium or high.

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Is there a scheme doctor?

No. Each tenant has his or her own doctor. Of course if you 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.

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Can I come and go as I please?

Yes, of course, as a tenant of a sheltered scheme you live as independently as any other tenant. The only difference with sheltered schemes is that they provide you with a degree of support and security which lets you continue living independently in your home.

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Are meals provided?

No. You have your own kitchens for you to prepare meals. However, you may like to access and use the communal kitchen to arrange lunch with friends.

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Can relatives visit and/or stay?

We welcome family and friends visiting anytime.

Some of our schemes also have a fully furnished guest room which your family can stay in overnight on a casual basis. There is a small charge to use the room. Please ask your scheme manager for details.

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Can I smoke in sheltered housing?

No. smoking is NOT allowed in any of the communal or public areas, such as the lounge and its attached kitchen, corridors or communal toilets.

You and your visitors may smoke in the privacy of your own home. You may also smoke outdoors in the gardens and grounds. Please dispose of your cigarette ends safely if you do smoke in the garden.

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I have a mobility scooter - can I bring it to my sheltered home?

Yes, we have a buggy store with a limited number of spaces in our sheltered schemes. Please speak to the Scheme Manager for more details.

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I still drive a car – is parking available?

Parking varies from scheme to scheme – some have lots of space for parking, whereas others have limited space. Please speak to the Scheme Manager for more details.

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Do the main doors get locked shut and can I leave the building when I want to?

All main doors are secure and accessible by using your fob, which gives you the option to come and go as you please.

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What happens 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.

If you want to move to another sheltered scheme you will need to register with North Yorkshire Homechoice as a transfer applicant.

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Can I do any gardening?

Yes, we welcome any green-fingered tenants to help make the gardens a more relaxing and enjoyable place.

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Are there any things I cannot do in sheltered housing?

We try to keep the limitations on our residents to a minimum, but with people living together and sharing some facilities, we have to rules about fire precautions.

  • Our schemes usually have a fire alarm system, including smoke alarms. All are tested regularly.
  • Please do not ignore any alarms you hear; instead, know what to do if you hear the alarm - and do it.
  • Please do not prop any fire doors open. They are designed to stop any fire from spreading, but obviously work only when closed.
  • For the same reason, please do not interfere with (or remove) the self-closing mechanism on internal doors and, of course, do not use the lift in case of fire; if there were an electrical failure, you could be trapped in it.
  • If you have or find a fire, use the fire alarm system immediately. If you have any hearing difficulties please inform the Scheme Manager.

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What does a scheme manager do?

The scheme manager will check on you every day, Monday to Friday and be able to assist you in an emergency.

They are there to make sure you feel safe, secure and comfortable and will build lasting relationships with tenants' families, GPs and external agencies. 

Scheme managers are not to be expected to provide care or do things like shopping.

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Does the scheme manager live onsite?

No. The Scheme manager works Monday to Friday.

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When does the scheme manager work?

Scheme managers provide onsite support 24 hours per week in our sheltered housing schemes and 37 hours per week in our sheltered with extra care schemes, working Monday to Friday.

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Are there things a scheme manager does not do?

Scheme managers do not provide care such as washing, dressing, preparing meals and getting in and out of bed. Care is provided by support services and your level of care will have been discussed with you during your social care assessment, if required.

Scheme managers do not carry out domestic chores such as cleaning, cooking or shopping.

There is a strict instruction that scheme managers cannot look after your money valuables and money.

A scheme manager may carry out some of these tasks on a purely temporary basis, as part of an emergency. 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 scheme manager is on duty at any one time and there are many other people in the scheme for whom the scheme manager must offer a similar service.

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Will the scheme manager cook any meals for me, or provide any medical help?

No. it is not the role of the scheme manager to provide these services, but they will contact other agencies that do (Social Services, GPs) on your behalf should you wish or need them.

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What if I need help when the scheme manager is not on duty or on holiday?

Our scheme manager service offers daily cover Monday to Friday, usually between 9am and 5pm. There is 24 assistance through the community alarm service, called Be Independent. When your scheme manager is not on duty or on holiday you can contact the community alarm service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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Does the scheme manager hold information about me?

Yes, the names, addresses and telephone numbers of your next-of-kin and close friends, your doctor and any relevant details of your health are kept by the scheme manager, and the central control office, Be Independent. 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.

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Who will have access to my personal details?

All personal information will be locked away in the office and will only be passed on to others on a "need to know" basis. The manager will ask for your permission first where possible.

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What sorts of activities go on at each scheme?

Most schemes have a range of communal activities but this depends on the wishes of the tenants themselves. Currently in the schemes there are the coffee mornings, bingo sessions and lunch clubs, Christmas and birthday celebrations. External trips are also arranged from time to time for a small charge.

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Do I have to participate in these activities?

All activities are for those who wish to participate; there is no obligation on anyone to take part. We do encourage you to join in, to help make everyone feel welcome and most importantly feel part of your community.

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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 scheme manager is willing to help in this and to encourage a wide range of activities and outings.

All schemes are encouraged to invite the community 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.

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Can I use the communal area for a party?

Yes. The communal lounge can be used by all tenants, at anytime for celebrations and special occasions. It cannot be used exclusively, however, for parties as other tenants can access at anytime, if they wish.

You can use the communal kitchen and these facilities are open to your friends and family to help prepare for any event.

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How do I pay for sheltered housing?

You are responsible for paying your rent and all normal household bills.

How you pay for your sheltered housing will depend on your individual circumstances and your financial situation.

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What is the cost per week for living in sheltered housing?

The total charge on a property varies, depending on the scheme and the size of the property.

Depending on your income you may be able to claim benefits to assist with the cost of your rent and service charges.

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What other costs would I have to pay?

You are responsible for paying your utility bills, such as electric and water. Each scheme is different and your scheme manager will tell you what is included in your rent and service charge.

You will also require a TV Licence if you are under the age of 75. Sheltered schemes are normally subject to a Concessionary TV Licence and the cost to you would be £7.50 per year. Check with your scheme manager.

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Is my dwelling covered by insurance?

Insurance of buildings is, of course, the responsibility of the landlord. However, you are solely responsible for insuring your household contents and possessions and you are strongly advised to take out household contents insurance.

I currently live in a larger council house and cannot afford to move; could the council help with this?

Yes. We operate a downsizing incentive scheme, which you may be eligible for and the council is able to help with the cost of removals, disconnection and reconnection of services such as the telephone and cooker or other moving costs. Please contact your housing estate manager for more details.

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What if I am dissatisfied with the sheltered housing service?

If you are dissatisfied with the service you should, in the first instance, talk to the scheme manager, who may be able to put matters right there and then.

If you are still unhappy you can contact our Customer Feedback Team

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