Theories of household decision making stress the importance of access to information in informing residential choice. The difficulties in gathering and processing information on housing options, however, are compounded in later stages of life, with push factors to expensive forms of residential care assuming greater significance as individuals reach a crisis through deteriorating health and restricted physical ability. The purpose of this paper is to examine the ways in which the provision of a UK government-backed advice and support service, named FirstStop, altered the housing outcomes of a sample of vulnerable elderly individuals on the verge of a crisis and living in inappropriate housing for their needs. The paper concludes that not only can such a publicly-funded service facilitate independent living for longer; it may also delay or prevent the need for more expensive institutional care which is costly to both individuals and public finances. As this initiative is the first of its kind internationally, evaluating its benefits not only informs UK policy makers but also those in other countries considering replicating such a service.
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