Supporting people with learning disabilities at the edges of social care in social housing and the private rented sector

Deborah Quilgars In progress  


Good quality, accessible housing is essential for the delivery of appropriate social and health care to people with learning disabilities living in the community. There is evidence that poor housing and living environments are bad for people’s well-being and health. Evidence suggests that some people with learning disabilities are living in poor and/or insecure housing or becoming homeless.

There is a concern that some people with mild to moderate learning disabilities may be missing out on getting the help with housing and social care that they need: they may not qualify for help under the Care Act 2014, or may not apply for this help, and may therefore have ‘unmet’ care and support needs.


The aim of this study is to understand the ways that people with learning disabilities who are on the edges of social care can be better supported to access and enjoy living in their own tenancies in the community, when this is their choice.

This study is a collaboration between academics at the University of York (with housing specialism), the University of Bristol (with learning disability specialism), two national providers of housing and housing support services for people with learning disabilities (home farm trust/hft and Riverside), the national learning user network (Learning Disability England) and the ‘go-to’ sharing network for those working in specialist housing and care in England and Wales (Housing LIN).


The study involves two stages:

  1. A policy and practice review of housing for people with mild to moderate learning disabilities, with a particular focus on the options available for people at the edges of social care to live in ‘ordinary’ tenancies in the community. This stage will involve speaking to key people and agencies with expertise in housing for people with learning disabilities, including seven major regional events, and also a review of key local authority strategies
  2. Detailed interviews with people with mild to moderate learning disabilities who are living in social housing and private rented tenancies, their families and key people in their lives who help support them.