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On the 16th of May 2023 the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) and Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) jointly announced the Older Person’s Housing Taskforce. Julienne Meyer CBE, Professor Emerita of Nursing; Care for Older People; City, University of London was appointed as its Chair.

The Taskforce is expected to run for 12 months, with the overarching mission:
“To understand the market in England for older people’s housing today and into the future; the enablers for older people seeking specialist housing; opportunities and benefits of broadening provision and choice for older people, including continuing to live in their own home if they wish to do; and to develop a viable and implementable approach for enhancing choice for older people in the housing sector”.

There are almost 11 million people aged 65 and over in the UK, that is 19% of the total population. In 10 years time thisis predicted to increase to 22% of the population – almost 13 million people. More recent population forecasts, using the 2021 Census provided by the ONS forecast that in England & Wales the social and ethnic minority population aged 65 and over would increase five-fold to 3.8 million by 2051, of which 2.7 million from non-white backgrounds. The UK’s Non-White population is also ageing and according to the 2021 Census those aged 65+ stands at 700,000 (1.2% of thetotal population). The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) estimates that the Muslim population (the largest single ethnic and faith group) will increase fourfold between 2019 – 2036 to over 450,000.

We all recognise that whilst most older people enjoy the benefits of living longer and living better, ‘Ageing Well’ for many from faith and social minority groups is a struggle – a time of continuous financial hardship, ill-health, and reduced life-expectancy.
Agudas Israel Housing Association (AIHA) is a specialist provider meeting the needs of people from the Orthodox Jewish Community and North London Muslim Housing Association (NLM) is a BME provider with specialist capability in meeting the needs of the Muslim, but not exclusively.

Both AIHA and NLM assisted Abdul A Ravat of the Abbeyfield Society and Chair of the National Housing Federation’s Older Person Housing Group to organise a visit on Thursday 11 th April inviting the Taskforce Chair Professor Meyer with Les Mayhew, Associate Head of Global Research, International Longevity Centre UK (ILC) and Professor of Statistics at Bayes Business School to join colleagues from the two locally based housing association to visit North London and meet
with their residents and staff to find out more about what they are doing to meet the housing, care and support needs of older citizens from the two respective communities. Also, in attendance were Khalid Mair from BME London Landlords and Michael Da Costa from the Housing Diversity Network.

From L-R Chaya Spitz CEO AIHA, Aziz Rahim CEO NLM, Abdul Ravat Chair of National Housing Federation’s Older Persons Housing Group, Khalid Mair BME London Landlords, Yahya Hafesji Chair NLM

The interaction with residents was a real highlight as they explained to the Taskforce visitors what it was like to live attheir respective homes, how it compared to their lives before they moved in and discuss the wider services of theirsocial landlords on issues like loneliness and assistance with welfare advice. They also highlighted what they hope to seefrom the Taskforce as it draws its work to a close. The final report with recommendations is scheduled to reach government by the Summer of 2024.

The tour included visiting:

 51-53 Cazenove Road – a sheltered scheme managed by NLM which was a result of a stock transfer from a larger provider.
 Fradel Lodge – a supported housing scheme for older people, which is part of the Schonfeld Square complex, managed by AIHA, the largest Orthodox Jewish care facility in Europe with 85 homes for older people alongside 59 general needs homes.

Professor Meyer had the following message:
“As demographics shift, we urgently need tailored housing solutions for older people across England, especially those from faith and social minority groups. It was an absolute pleasure to visit Cazenove Road and Fradel Lodge – learn about their histories, celebrate their founders, and speak with residents and staff about their positive experiences of living and working there. Seeing the Muslim Community and the Orthodox Jewish Community work in harmony was truly uplifting,
especially during these troubled times. I left with a sense of renewed hope”.

Chaya Spitz OBE, Chief Executive of Agudas Israel Housing Association said:
“It was a pleasure sharing AIHA’s work with the leaders of the Older Person’s Housing Taskforce. Culturally specific provision for older people is a very important part of AIHA’s work and hugely enhances the lives of our older tenants and residents. We have a proud history of friendship and collaboration with NLM and other locally based Muslim groups and will continue to work together to enrich our services”.

Aziz Rahim, Chief Executive of North London Muslim Housing Association said:
“It was a pleasure sharing our work and thoughts with the leaders of the Older Persons Housing Taskforce. Culturally specific provision for older people is a very important part for BAME community and will be accepted by them as ‘Trusted Places’. People should feel that their needs are being met, rather than providers making assumptions about their religious and cultural requirements.

We highlighted the need to develop staff training to work with BAME people. More staff training was a frequent request by BAME communities. They wanted support from staff that have positive and respectful attitudes towards them and hugely enhances their lives – ‘Trusted People’. A good elderly scheme cannot be achieved by just responding to individual needs as they arise. Providers need to take a systematic approach to removing barriers that may prevent BAME people
receiving appropriate support – ‘Right Products’.

There is a proud history of friendship and collaboration between NLM and AIHA. I am grateful to AIHA for sharing their experience and showing us around their elderly scheme. We will continue to work together to enrich our services for older people and others in our communities”.

Reflecting on the visit and the work of the Taskforce since its inception, Abdul A Ravat had the following to say: “Can I thank the Taskforce, Professors Julienne Meyer and Les Mayhew for taking time out at such a critical time to visit.

Can I also thank Aziz Rahim & team NLM and Chaya Spitz & team AIHA for their cooperation, hospitality, and passion. The social impact of the work these two anchor organisations do and the respect and collaboration they share is a shining light of how faith communities’ can achieve together and certainly brings a glow to my heart. I was keen to further identify issues that affect older people from diverse and faith-based communities including cultural sensitivities, the impact of housing on health and wellbeing and the need to deliver accessible and good quality
affordable homes. I urge the Taskforce to recommend the continuing need to research into the challenges facing BAME older people, yet also challenge mainstream providers to demonstrate intent in outcomes from their current and new build programmes to reflect diversity and inclusiveness of service and products, connecting policymakers to tenants and
communities regarding government funding and policy, helping develop and test new solutions in their homes to ensure equity in the choices available to everyone”.

The visit was a great success and met all our expectations. It also specifically highlighted some critical insights, practical realities and key policy and funding challenges regarding nominations under the Choice Based System which were conveyed to our visitors from the Taskforce that undermined choice for some groups of older people more than others. The number of older people from BAME and faith communities is on the increase and will be the case for the years and
decades to come. This is especially significant in areas like London with its super diversity and rich cultures coexisting side by side. We believe the old assumption that people from BAME and faith groups look after their older parents/grandparents within the family structure is an oversimplification, it can no longer be expected that extended families willtake on the sole responsibility for their relatives, increasingly with complex health issues like dementia, as the younger generations themselves grapple with the demands of contemporary modern life and lack of affordable housing options.

We therefore urge the Taskforce to be robust and strategic in their report to government and that its recommendations clearly identify the requirements for older people’s housing that include those from faith and minoritized communities and, through planning powers in collaboration with adult social care and housing services, seek to ensure these needs are met in a culturally and sensitive manner to avoid complete isolation.

Agudas Israel Housing Association:
Agudas Israel Housing Association (AIHA) provides homes for people in housing need from the Orthodox Jewish community. Most of its homes are general needs family housing, but it also has around 200 homes for older people, people with mental health needs and with people with learning disabilities. AIHA’s largest provision for older people is in and Schonfeld Square, North London ( which includes a care home and supported housing for about 85 older people. For more information see

North London Housing Association:
North London Muslim Housing Association was established in 1988 and has developed into a significant provider of housing to meet the needs of the wider community irrespective of race, gender, disability, belief, sexual orientation, age, or socio-economic background. It now manages over 1,000 homes in 5 local authority areas across North East London, we build thriving neighbourhoods and work tirelessly to transform the lives of our residents.

For more information see
Older Persons Housing Taskforce:
More information about the work of the Older Persons Taskforce can be found at the following link: