Journey to Independent Living

NHSDP Awareness Campaign ‘Journey to Independent Living’

The vision of the National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022 – 2027 is to:

  • facilitate disabled people to live independently with the appropriate choice and control over where, how and with whom they live, promoting their inclusion in the community, and
  • to further enable equal access for disabled people to housing with integrated support services.


A national campaign called ‘Journey to Independent Living’ has been launched to raise awareness around the housing options and associated supports that are available to disabled people who wish to live independently in their communities.

A new website is also under development that will bring together useful information and resources for disabled people. This website will be a tool for people to find information on housing and the supports they need to facilitate independent living. The website is due to launch in July 2024. Updates on the launch will be posted here.


Overview of your ‘Journey to Independent Living’

Independent living in terms of housing is about disabled people being able to choose where they want to live in the same way as everyone else does and having control over their life.

Below are some initial questions that you might want to think about when planning your own journey.

  • Do you want to rent or buy your own home?
  • Where do you want to live? For example, do you want to live near family, near work, or services you use frequently?
  • Do you need financial assistance to help you with renting or buying your home? What financial assistance is out there that can help?
  • Do you need health or personal care supports to help you live independently?


Moving into independent living can take time, and it’s not always a straightforward journey. Once you know what you want to do, it’s important to start putting things in place to help you get there. For example:


  • How will you find somewhere to rent or buy?
  • What application forms do you need to fill out to get financial or other supports?
  • If you need help, are there any services out there that can help you?
  • If you haven’t lived independently before, what skills do you need to prepare yourself for independent living? For example do you need to improve your cooking skills?


Overview of housing options

There are different ways you can achieve independent living. These include social housing, private rented accommodation, or owning / building your own home. It’s important to know what choices you have and think about which option will work best for you.

There is a comprehensive guide for housing options that is available through your local authority. A link to the guide can be found here Housing Options Guide | The Housing Agency


Do you want to apply for Social Housing Support?

Social Housing Supports aims to provide affordable and secure housing. Supports can involve the provision of a home directly by the local authority/Approved Housing Body or by supporting you in a private rented home through initiatives such as the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS).

The first step on this journey is applying for Social Housing to your Local Authority. More information on applying for social housing is available on our website Applying for Social Housing Support | The Housing Agency

Your application should also include a Disability and/or Medical Information HMD Form 1. Each local authority will have their own version of the form but here is an example of a form - HMD Form 1 example. 

This is a form for anyone applying for social housing due to a disability or on medical grounds. You will need two Healthcare Professionals to also complete the form.

If you are applying for Social Housing Support, you should be aware that there are rules about how local authorities manage social housing applications. These include a number of important elements, such as:

  • You can only apply to one housing authority
  • You must already be living in the area covered by that housing authority, or have a local connection with the area (though a local authority may agree to waive this requirement)
  • You will only be considered for social housing if your household income is less than the threshold that applies in the local authority’s area.

Here is a list of useful websites for further information on the some of the points mentioned above -

List of local authorities (

Further information on HAP (

Further information on RAS (

Easy to Read Guide to filling in the Social Housing Support Application form (


Do you want to avail of private rented accommodation?

There are several options available if you want to rent accommodation. You could rent an entire house/apartment, share a house with others, rent a room or apply for cost rental schemes. If you are currently studying, there may be specific student accommodation you could avail of. Property websites like and are great resources for people looking to rent privately.


Cost Rental Housing 

Cost Rental Housing offers affordable rented accommodation to individuals with middle incomes. The rent is at least 25% below regular market rents in the area, so this provides a more affordable option for people. There are eligibility criteria and an application process for this scheme so please check the link below for information on eligibility and the application process

Here is a list of useful websites for further information on the some of the points mentioned above -

Cost Rental Scheme (

Renting a Home (


Do you want to own / build your own home?

There are various options including, buying a new build or second-hand house / apartment or purchasing a site and building your own home.

There are some Government schemes available to assist first-time buyers in purchasing a home including the Help to Buy scheme, Local Authority Home Loan, First Home Scheme, Affordable Purchase Scheme, Rent to Buy and Ready to Build. There are certain eligibility criteria on each of these schemes, see the links below for further details on each scheme.

If you are planning to buy a home, you can look at estate agent websites or visit real estate agents in the area you are planning to live.

If you are building your home, you should be aware that you more than likely will need

  • A professional to design your new home,
  • planning permission,
  • a solicitor, and
  • to employ a builder.

Here is a list of useful websites for further information on the some of the points mentioned above -

Tips on Buying your First Home (

Local Authority Home Loan website

First Home Scheme website

Affordable Purchase Scheme (

Help to Buy Scheme (

Rent to Buy Scheme (

Ready to Build Scheme (


Managing your home

You may need to make changes to your home to improve safety and accessibility. You will firstly need to identify any changes that are required and plan any structural changes needed. You can consult an Occupational Therapist (OT) who can evaluate your specific needs. These changes can be costly and there are grants available to financially support these adaptations. If you are applying for any grant, you will probably need an Occupational Therapist Report.


Financial Assistance available to upgrade your home

You may be eligible for some grants or financial supports to assist with the costs associated with adapting your home. There are eligibility criteria so please follow the below links for further information on each support.

Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability: This means-tested grant can provide up to €30,000 for necessary adaptations. A government programme that is means tested is not available to individuals or households with incomes that are deemed too high. You can apply for this through your local authority. Find more information on the grant here - Housing Adaptation Grant for Disabled People (

Mobility Aids Grant Scheme: For smaller changes like grab rails or stairlifts, this scheme offers grants of up to €6,000. You can apply for this through your local authority. Find out more here - Mobility Aids Grant (

Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme: Contact your local authority to inquire about available support for structural repairs or upgrades. Find out more here - Housing Aid for Older People Grant (

Local Authority Home Improvement Loans: These loans can help cover the cost of home improvements, repairs, or extensions. Find out more here - Local Authority Home Improvement Loan (

VAT Refunds: When purchasing equipment for a person with a disability, you may be eligible for a VAT refund. Find out how you can reclaim VAT here - Reclaiming VAT (


Supports that may assist you on your Journey To Independent Living

You might need support to fill out application forms or help to navigate the different systems. Below are some organisations that could help you to complete forms and contact organisations on your behalf:

The National Advocacy Service (NAS) is an organisation which helps adults with disabilities. NAS provides a free and confidential advocacy service to adults with a disability, aged 18 years and over. You can find out more at

Citizens Information Centres provides free, impartial information, advice and advocacy from centres nationwide. You can find out more at

You might also need some assistance to live independently and you might need to think about what kind of support you will need. There is a comprehensive array of services available through the healthcare system. These services play an important role in promoting independence, well-being and quality of life.


Disability Services:

What are Disability Services?

Disability Services in Ireland are dedicated programmes and supports designed to address the unique needs of individuals with disabilities. These services aim to enhance the overall quality of life, independence, and social inclusion for people facing physical, cognitive, sensory, intellectual or mental health challenges.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has a number of supports for disabled people, please see the HSE website for more information - Disability services -


Primary Care Services:

What are Primary Care Services?

Primary Care Services are fundamental components of the Irish healthcare system, focusing on providing accessible, community-based healthcare. They serve as the initial point of contact for individuals seeking routine medical care, preventive services, and ongoing management of health conditions. Primary Care Services are typically delivered by general practitioners (GP), nurses, and other healthcare professionals working in local community settings. Find out more about Primary Care Services near you here - Local Health Offices


When you have found your home:

Once you have found somewhere to live and have arranged any supports you might need, it will be time to move in. This can be a very busy time for people, and you may require the help of a family or friend or a moving company to do this. It helps to have a list of everything you need to do, an in-depth Moving-In Checklist is available here Moving-In Checklist.