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Homeless older people

Adult Social Care

If you already have a home but it needs to be adapted, the hospital team may refer you to the department responsible for adaptations or disabled facilities grants.

Alternatively, you can refer yourself by calling 020 7364 5000. An occupational therapist may come to inspect your property to assess what adaptations are needed to help you live independently. Visit the home improvement agency for more information.

Will the council provide me with accommodation?

We can provide you with advice and support to help you find alternative accommodation. However, we will not have a duty to provide you with emergency accommodation or temporarily house you unless you are considered to be eligible, homeless and have a priority need.

For further information about the homeless criteria, please visit Shelter or contact shelter on 0808 800 4444. Your housing officer can also discuss this with you when you make an application for housing assistance

Sheltered Housing

What is sheltered housing?

Sheltered housing gives older people the independence of having their own flat with the security of having an alarm system and a warden. The flats are usually small self-contained units or single rooms in a complex, which has a communal social area. It is also possible to find sheltered housing to rent or buy. The sheltered staff should check on you every day and be able to and be able to assist you in an emergency. They would not be expected to provide care or do things like shopping.

Additional care in sheltered housing

If you require additional services, you can still have care provided by the social services department such as meals on wheels, someone to come in to get you up in the morning, or help you to wash or do your housework.

Who provides sheltered housing?

A number of housing providers have sheltered housing complexes. These include housing associations (to rent, for shared ownership, or to buy outright), voluntary organisations, such as Abbeyfield, Almshouses or EAC have information on housing options and a directory of advice services to help you if you have any problems or need further information. 

Buying sheltered housing

It is sometimes possible to buy a flat in a sheltered housing complex. If you already own your home, it may be easier for you to buy than to rent, as home owners are usually not given priority on waiting lists to rent from the council or a housing association. 

Further information about sheltered housing

Further information about sheltered housing is available from Age UK

You can also search for schemes in your local area through Housing Care

Seaside and country homes

Seaside and Country homes offer older tenants of London’s council’s and housing associations the opportunity to move away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

For further information please visit the Seaside and country homes website.

Mutual exchanges

A mutual exchange is when two or more tenants who want to move from their current home swap homes once they have the permission of all landlords involved. Given the shortage of available homes in Tower Hamlets, for many tenants this is the best prospect of moving.

How does it work?

To find a mutual exchange you can register on either of these websites:

For further information about mutual exchanges and the council’s work in this area please visit the Tower Hamlets Homeseekers website.


We award a high priority to those tenants who want to move to smaller accommodation and who are prepared to give up at least one bedroom. If you are a transferring under occupier, you can apply for a home one bed larger than you need and you will be given priority to move as long as you give up at least one bedroom.

For further information about downsizing please view our Allocations policy.

Other support

Age Uk East London – Age UK East London aims to be an organisation that enables older people to:

  • retain maximum possible choice over direction over their lives
  • maintain and improve health
  • prevent social isolation
  • live in physical environments suited to their changing needs
  • have as many opportunities as possible for involvement in fulfilling community and leisure activities.

Age UK offer a range of services to including:

  • health and fitness
  • user engagement
  • day opportunities
  • community outreach
  • information and advice
  • advocacy and befriending
  • home and care services.

You can contact Age UK on 020 8981 7124, email info@ageukeastlondon.org.uk or via the Age UK website.

The Silver Line – The sliver line UK is a national free helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Visit the Silver line website.

Wellbeing in Tower Hamlets (WITH) - WITH facilitates a variety of discussions and workshops on topics of self-esteem, wellbeing, memory and dementia awareness, confidence and abuse and safeguarding.

By using before and after surveys the project worker judges if they feel that the message has been understood and that participants feel more confident in these areas from identifying types and symptoms/signs of abuse and where to go for relevant advice or support to identifying new ways to improve one's wellbeing.

For details and to request a booking for a Dignify please contact Kate Lovell on kate.lovell@toynbeehall.org.uk.