Supported and sheltered housing

There are a number of supported and sheltered housing options for people who have specific housing needs e.g. older or disabled people:

Amenity housing

This refers to flats or houses with special modifications for people with particular needs, such as amenity housing for older people could provide bathroom handrails, non-slip flooring and repositioned electrical sockets. There is no warden service.

Cluster flats

This allows individuals to hold their own tenancy for their respective bedrooms but share the use of common spaces. This arrangement is often used for special needs purposes, for example for people with learning disabilities with care and support being provided by a specialist agency.

Housing with Care/Extra Care Housing

Housing with Care is a type of housing that supports older people to live as independently as possible. Housing with Care developments consist of self contained flats, designed to meet the needs of older people. Tenants have the independence of having their own home but can also enjoy the benefits of having staff on hand to provide flexible care and support should it be required.

There are a number of developments available across the Borders, provided by the following:

For more information and to find out if you are eligible for Housing with Care or Extra Care Housing, please contact your local Social Work office.

Sheltered housing

Sheltered housing is for people aged 60 or over who, while able to live independently in their home, would benefit from a warden service. Younger people with a disability may be accommodated in sheltered housing if they have a medical or physical disability. The properties are self contained and will have a number of features to assist daily living, including:

  • handrails
  • lower level light switches
  • raised sockets
  • ground or first floor level, or in blocks over two storeys high served by at least one lift
  • a warden service (although not always a residential warden)
  • an emergency 24 hour call service connecting each house to a warden system
  • most developments have communal facilities, such as laundry, lounge and guest accommodation

Very sheltered housing

Sometimes known as care or extra care housing, very sheltered housing has all the features of sheltered housing, but offers a greater level of care and support including extra wardens, domiciliary assistance and the provision of meals.


This type of housing has been built or adapted for wheelchair users and provides:

  • extra floor area
  • wider door ways
  • ramped or level access
  • bathroom adaptations
  • other features such as raised sockets

In 2019, we commissioned a Space to Live - Wheelchair Accessible Housing in the Scottish Borders report. The report was commissioned in order to investigate the:

  • numbers, profile and views of wheelchair users and other people with substantial mobility issues that are likely to require wheelchair or similar forms of accessible housing
  • current stock of housing suitable for wheelchair users, particularly in the social rented sector
  • challenges wheelchair users and their families experience in securing a suitable home and the factors that have contributed to this
  • current and potential future shortfalls in the provision of wheelchair accessible homes, with particular reference to affordable housing provision

Ambulant/physically disabled

This is housing which has been built or adapted for people with physical disabilities who are not confined to wheelchairs. It is built or adapted to general needs housing standards but has a level or ramped approach, toilet and bathroom at ground floor level and other special features to assist the disabled person in their everyday life.

Other special needs housing

This refers to any housing with support that is not covered by any of the other categories. It can include housing for:

  • adults with learning disabilities
  • adults with mental health needs
  • young people who require support

Find out more

More information is available from the following organisations:

  • Borders Care and Repair offers independent advice and assistance to help people repair, improve or adapt their home so that they can live in comfort and safety in their own community. They also provide a handyman service who will carry out small DIY tasks, free of charge (except for the cost of materials). This free and confidential service is available to owner-occupiers and private tenants who are at least 60 years of age or anyone with a disability
  • Penumbra's Be Well Supported Living can provide advice for people aged one and over who require housing support to allow them to sustain a tenancy

You can also contact your local housing association for advice about their special needs housing provision.

View directory of registered landlords and housing associations