Sheltered housing for people with disabilities
The purpose of sheltered housing for persons with disabilities is to provide the disabled person with the most independent and active life possible. Sheltered housing includes housing and support services that are essential in the daily life, such as assistance with getting dressed. The services are free of for people with severe disabilities, but the rent and other housing costs are always paid by the persons themselves.
Different forms of sheltered housing are available for people with disabilities:
In supported housing, the person with disabilities is mainly supported with social services, such as social guidance.
In sheltered housing, the person with disabilities receives assistance and services every day but not 24 hours a day.
In sheltered housing with 24-hour assistance, assistance is available 24 hours a day.
Sheltered housing for persons with disabilities includes an apartment and the necessary services.
The apartment may be a rented or an owner-occupied apartment. It may be a part of a group of apartments, group home or sheltered housing unit. The apartment is not just a single room, but also includes a kitchen and toilet.
Necessary services are services required by the person with disabilities to cope in their daily life. For example, they include moving about, assistance with getting washed and dressed, meal services, cleaning, taking care of medication and safety services. The required services are defined personally for each individual in an individual service plan.
Persons with disabilities who need suitable housing and care and looking after to be able to cope with their daily life are entitled to sheltered housing.
The following groups of people may be able to get a place in sheltered housing
- persons with mild disabilities, who for a particular reason need assistance or support for living in an apartment.
- people with severe disabilities who because of their disability or illness need assistance from others continuously or need a particularly large amount of assistance to be able to cope with their everyday activities.
Sheltered housing is not intended for persons who need institutional care. For example, if a person with a severe disability mainly needs continuous or long-term medical care, they are often not entitled to sheltered housing for persons with disabilities. However, the situation is always considered on a case-by-case basis, based on the needs and wishes of the person in question.
The practices in applying for a place in sheltered housing vary between municipalities. To have your service need assessed, contact the social services of your municipality.
- The municipality will assess your service need.
- A social worker will draw up a service plan for your together with you and your next of kin, if necessary.
- The service plan includes the kind and amount of services you need to support your daily life and living in an apartment.
- The updated plan will serve as the basis for agreeing on sheltered housing or some other housing solution suitable for your needs. The municipality must organise the place of care within three months.
Ultimately, the municipality will decide what kind of sheltered apartment you get and what kind of services you are entitled to. However, the municipality must also take into account your personal opinions and your individual situation. These decision must be made without undue delay and within three months of your application at the latest. In urgent situations, you may receive the services you need even before the service plan has been drawn up.
In sheltered housing for persons with disabilities, you pay all your personal housing-related costs yourself. Such costs include the rent, electricity, food and detergents.
However, the support services that are necessary in your daily life are free for you if you have received a decision on free services from your municipality, for example, because of your severe disability. Necessary support services include assistance with getting washed, getting dressed, cooking, eating, cleaning and moving about. They also include the services that you need to promote your health, rehabilitation and comfort, such as the supply of medicines and safety services.
If you need medical services in sheltered housing, it will be decided on a case-by-case basis whether you have to pay for them. Services are usually free if they promote your coping at home and enable you to live in sheltered housing.
If you purchase the sheltered housing from a private service provider, you will be responsible for all of the costs yourself.
There are no rules for private service providers on the pricing of sheltered housing for persons with disabilities. Private service providers therefore decide their prices themselves. However, the prices must always be reasonable. The prices must also be indicated as clearly, unambiguously and transparently as possible.
If you wish to buy sheltered housing directly from a private service provider, familiarise yourself carefully with the terms and conditions of agreement. Find out the prices, how they are formed and what services they include. Compare the services and prices of different service providers.
Sometimes the municipality organises the services by purchasing them from a private service provider. In that case, the customer is charged the same fees and compensation as for the corresponding services provided by the municipality itself.
You can apply for support from Kela to cover your personal housing expenses. If you are not retired, you can apply for general housing allowance. If you are retired, you can apply for housing allowance for pensioners.
The pages about Services for people with disabilities explain how you can apply for Kela’s disability allowance or care allowance for pensioners to make your everyday life easier. In addition, you can apply for a rehabilitation benefit from Kela for the duration of your rehabilitation.
You may receive compensation from the municipality for buying the devices you need in your daily activities and for the necessary alterations to your home. Read more about the topic on the page Aids and home renovations for people with disabilities.
If you pay for the services related to your sheltered housing yourself, you can often apply for a deduction for household expenses for them from the Tax Administration. You may also receive home services without having to pay the VAT.
Many municipalities use service vouchers to organise sheltered housing. For more information, see the page Using the service voucher when choosing a place of treatment. You can use the service voucher to buy services related to sheltered housing from private service providers.
However, if you do not have enough money for living in spite of the allowances you receive, you can apply for social assistance from Kela. Social assistance is explained in more detail on the page Entitlement to basic social assistance.
The parties producing sheltered housing must themselves supervise, develop and follow the quality of their services. The unit providing the service must draw up a public self-monitoring plan to support the supervision of its operations. The implementation of the service must be monitored regularly and the activities must be developed on the basis of the feedback received from customers and personnel.
The municipality must ensure that those who need sheltered housing for persons with disabilities receive services in accordance with their service plan. The municipality must also ensure that an individual unit providing the service is capable of providing the care and services needed by that person.
At a regional level, sheltered housing for persons with disabilities is supervised by the regional state administrative agencies. The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health Valvira in turn guides the regional state administrative agencies to ensure that supervision is as uniform as possible everywhere in Finland.