Where we live is fundamental to many aspects of our lives not least the care and support we receive. 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 as 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. Access to and support with maintaining good quality, affordable, rented housing is essential for the delivery of appropriate social and health care for people with learning disabilities living in the community.

Renters poster (PDF , 286kb)


The aim of this study is to understand the ways that people with learning disabilities who are on the edges of social care (meaning they receive no or small amounts of statutory support) can be better supported to access and enjoy living in their own tenancies in the community, when this is their choice.

The research is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, School of Social Care Research and is a collaboration between:

The project team also includes an advisory group of people with learning disabilities who rent their own homes and who also belong to self-advocacy groups (including York People First and My Life, My Choice).


The study has two stages. Stage 1 is now complete and we are currently working on Stage 2.

Stage 1 focused on the options available for people at the edges of social care to live in ‘ordinary’ tenancies in the community including a review of local authority learning disability strategies. We also held 8 regional and 1 national roundtable events which were attended by over 100 professionals and experts by experience including: people with learning disabilities, family carers, advocates, social care staff, social and private housing providers, representatives from local authorities, the NHS and voluntary and community organisations and key national policy experts.

Stage 2 is focusing on the experiences of people with learning disabilities who rent their own place and the support – and/or gaps in support - for finding and maintaining their home. We are interviewing 40 people with mild to moderate learning disabilities who rent their own homes either in the private or social landlords, their families and key people in their lives who help support them.

In addition, we will also undertake creative methods with 15 people with learning disabilities who will use a booklet and camera to show us their experiences and offer their advice to others in relation to both renting and support.


Our study started in September 2020 and will report in Autumn 2022.


Eppie Leishman / Deborah Quilgars
University of York
School for Business and Society
YO10 5DD