The future of supported housing: finding a fair and affordable solution
One of the Government’s key commitments is to protect the most vulnerable. Supported housing helps underpin this obligation and supports hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people across the country. This includes: helping those with learning disabilities; providing older people with support needs with somewhere to live that can meet their changing needs as they age; crisis accommodation for people fleeing domestic abuse or emergency places for rough sleepers; help for those recovering from drug or alcohol dependency; and support to vulnerable young people such as care leavers to get the help they need to move on and get a job, and live independently.
As demand grows and needs change, it is critical that we get the detail right to deliver a funding model that is flexible enough to reflect the diversity of the sector and meets the needs of individual tenants, providers and commissioners. In particular, we recognise the vital importance of ensuring that providers are able to develop new, much needed, supported housing and we want the long-term funding model to support this. As part of this reform we also want to increase the role that quality, individual outcomes and value for money play in the funding model.
The Government has a strong track record in protecting individuals living in the supported housing sector. For example, the Housing Benefit paid in respect of most types of supported housing is not taken into account for Benefit Cap purposes. While work has been ongoing to align the funding approach to supported housing and Universal Credit, temporary provision has been made to allow claimants living in supported housing to continue to receive Housing Benefit for housing costs alongside Universal Credit for other living costs.
The Government also has a strong track record of boosting supply of supported housing. Between 2011 and 2015 the Government delivered over 18,000 new supported homes across England.
At the Spending Review, we committed £400 million to deliver a further 8,000 supported housing units through the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme. In addition, the Department of Health’s Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) fund was launched in 2012 with over £200 million being invested to build over 6,000 supported homes in the next few years.
The Department of Health has also recently launched a £25 million Capital Fund for Housing and Technology for People with Learning Disabilities. A further £40 million was invested in the Homelessness Change/Platform for Life programme to upgrade homeless hostels and improve health facilities.
We are fully committed to ensuring that no victim of domestic abuse is turned away from the support they need, as reaffirmed in the strategy to end Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), published in March. As part of this, we have committed £80 million of extra funding up to 2020 to tackle violence against women and girls, including funding for securing the future of refuges and other accommodation based services. As part of this, a £20 million fund was launched in November 2016 for local authorities to bid to increase refuge spaces and other accommodation for women fleeing domestic violence.