In my case I was able to select where I lived, but I don't know how flexible they are now as the Special Needs Shared Ownership scheme I was housed under has been changed since 2001.
Open a new window to look at this page on Notting Hill's website for a reasonable place to start looking at the services on offer now.
Shared Ownership means that although I am a tenant of the housing association, I am also 'paying' a mortgage on part of my home, in my case its 30% rent and 70% mortgage. The mortgage has been arranged through the Catholic Building Society.
In 2001 the majority of mortgage lenders would have turned me down despite the fact that they would be 100% guaranteed of getting the money back because my mortgage is being paid by DWP. This payment goes straight from the DWP to the building society and covers the interest on the mortgage (and maybe a small part of the actual loan). I don't know what the situation is today but Notting Hill will guide the individual through the process anyway.
I had to have a commitment on paper that Social Services would provide for my support needs before Notting Hill would go further than providing basic information.
Notting Hill had a budget with which they adapted the property, but it was a finite amount. In my case, because I wanted/needed the island in the kitchen removed Notting Hill didn't have the money to redecorate inside.
The local Community OT Team Leader was involved in the modification of my home in order that Notting Hill didn't end up with the situation where I had spent the budget on things not designed to make the property useable by me in the long-term.
To get the DWP payments I had to be getting Income Support for 6 months or more from the date of the application and the application had to be dated the day I moved in. Again, Notting Hill know the ins and outs and will guide people through the process.
Half my Attendance Allowance plus a proportion of my Income Support goes towards my care fees as do all my ILF payments.
The ILF only fund a person who is receiving more than around å£200 per week in support from Social Services.
Notting Hill is responsible for maintaining the exterior of the bungalow (but not the garage), the boiler and central heating.
I am responsible for interior decorating and can access the contractors employed by Notting Hill by ringing them up but I cannot contact them direct.
I am responsible for all bills, though my Housing Benefit covers my rent and the Council Tax Benefit cancels out my Council Tax bill.
If, for some reason the DWP stopped paying the mortgage, or if I wanted to revert to being a tenant only, I can 'sell' the percentage back to the housing association, and presumably they would sort everything out with the building society and DWP.
Having my name on the deeds means that I have security of tenure in a way that I wouldn't if I was just renting. If my care needs became very complex to handle at home Social Services would find it harder to re-home me into residential care without my consent.
With my name on the deeds I feel more possessive of the property; it is 'mine' in a way a rented home would never be even if I had picked the property myself.