Ministers recognise that supported housing is a vital service for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, and last year consulted on possible alternative funding for supported housing.
Having listened to views from providers, stakeholders and councils, the Government has decided housing benefit will remain in place to fund this accommodation.
Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse MP said, ‘Protection of the most vulnerable has always been our primary concern, and following our consultation, the case for keeping supported housing in the welfare system became clear.
‘The sector also recognised that our aim of improving the quality of homes must be addressed, and we look forward to now working with partners to make sure we have strong measures in place.’
Alongside this, Government has also announced that it will work with providers, local authorities, membership bodies and resident representatives over the coming months to develop a robust oversight regime.
This work will ensure quality and value for money across the whole supported housing sector.
In addition, a review of housing related support will be undertaken to better understand how housing and support currently fit together.
Responding to the announcement on supported housing, Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said, ‘This announcement will give councils and housing providers the certainty to sustain and invest supported housing for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
‘A sustainable funding model for supported housing is critical to ensuring councils can reduce homelessness and help older and other vulnerable people.
‘It is, however, crucial that councils have the leading role in overseeing and ensuring the provision of housing for vulnerable groups is good quality, value for money, and fits in with the wider local services offered in places.
‘We look forward to working with the Government and our housing and care partners to ensure that the future of supported housing best achieves our ambitions for communities.’
Last year the government published proposals on new ways of funding supported housing. These models included a ‘Sheltered Rent’ for sheltered and extra care housing. Under the grant model, councils would have received funding and paid short-term supported housing rents at their discretion.
Now that government has opted to keep funding within housing benefit, this means residents will claim housing benefit as usual, with their rent normally being paid directly to their landlord.
David Orr Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation said:
“This is a hugely welcome decision that shows that the Government has listened to the concerns of housing associations and the people who use these vital homes and services.
“After years of uncertainty, we are delighted that housing costs will remain in the social security system for all supported housing, sheltered and extra care.
“The sector has worked together to demonstrate the value of supported housing, ensuring the Government understood the need to protect these homes and services and put a funding model in place that would encourage future development.
“This announcement means that hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are vulnerable, will continue to receive the support they need by right, through the social security system. It gives them the certainty and security they need and deserve.