Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide new insights into barriers to sustaining and scaling-up housing and community-care innovations related to changing the long-term care (LTC) system. Design/methodology/approach – Two housing and community-care experiments were studied. The 11 barriers and four core themes identified to the scaling-up of these experiments were analysed using the three theoretical concepts from the transitions literature: shielding, nurturing, and empowering innovations. Findings – The barriers included shielding through subsidies without having organizational or political commitment, nurturing networks that underestimated the size of the housing and community-care innovations, and a failed empowerment because of regulatory uncertainty – not knowing the rules of tomorrow and ignoring the reality that it takes time to spread the lessons learnt in experiments. Research limitations/implications – Housing and community-care innovations need to pay less attention to subsidies and focus more on learning from the experiments, spreading the ideas, and creating commitment from policymakers so that the innovations become empowered. Originality/value – Empirical insights into the barriers to sustaining and scaling-up housing and community-care innovations into the LTC system are provided and propositions for future transition programmes formulated.