Sheltered housing provision for the elderly
Attending the EROSH Housing Conference in Belfast today, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Senior Citizens, Mary Nelis complimented the conference on raising the debate on the need to provide, - "a sustainable integrated and non-discriminatory sheltered housing strategy for our senior citizens and holistically incorporate it into an intergenerational approach to this social need". Mrs Nelis said:
"This is a problem facing all of society, it is our problem. What kind of political and social order do we belong to if we do not allow our elderly to have an active and lifelong contribution to the community in which they live?
We must work towards removing ageism in all areas of life and consult and afford access to fully meet the needs of our senior citizens, including the right to access affordable secure housing.
Mrs Nelis spoke of her lifelong efforts as a Community Activist, elected representative and an active senior citizen in trying to raise the issues surrounding sheltered and social housing provision.
"Our Senior Citizens must be allowed the opportunity to play an active role in their community. The discriminatory practices of the Common Selection Scheme, the range of issues surrounding the Adaptations process and the House Sales Policy are also blatantly ageist.
Sheltered housing provision should allow senior citizens to realise that following retirement they are but entering of a new stage of activity. Senior Citizens should be consulted and supported in making their own choices on remaining at home or entering sheltered housing. The provision, level and types of sheltered housing schemes should be designed to meet senior citizens needs in a community environment. I applaud today‚s conference which clearly outlined the continued need for all interested groups to re-engage in sustained efforts to provide sheltered senior citizen housing and remove all barriers.
Mrs Nelis condemned the comments of Mary Jarvis, Secretary to the British Deputy PM, John Prescott, who was quoted last week as having stated "there is no future for the funding of sheltered housing".
"I was also extremely disappointed that no representatives of the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Social Development including the Minister accepted the invitation to attend this important conference on the future of Sheltered Housing."