The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has announced a supported housing package through the Affordable Homes Programme, which it says will include the delivery of new supported housing for older, disabled and other vulnerable people.
According to the government, the package’s measures will cover:
- Minimum standards for the support provided to residents to ensure residents receive the good quality support they expect and deserve in order to live as independently as possible and achieve their personal goals
- New powers for local authorities in England to better manage their local supported housing market and ensure that rogue landlords cannot exploit the system to the detriment of vulnerable residents and at the expense of taxpayers
- Changes to Housing Benefit regulations to seek to define care, support and supervision to improve quality and value for money across all specified supported housing provision.
Eddie Hughes MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, said: “We will work closely with local government, sector representatives, providers and people with experience of supported housing as we develop these measures to ensure they are fit for purpose, deliverable and minimise unintended consequences for the providers of much needed, good quality supported housing.
“Alongside these proposed measures, today I am announcing that we will provide £20 million for a Supported Housing Improvement Programme. Funding for this three-year programme will be open to bids from all local authorities and build on the clear successes of the supported housing pilots. The pilot authorities were able to drive up the quality of accommodation and support to residents. They also improved value for money through enhanced scrutiny of Housing Benefit claims to verify that costs were legitimate and reasonable.
“The Supported Housing Improvement Programme will be vital to drive up quality in the sector in some of the worst affected areas immediately, while the Government develops and implements longer term regulatory changes. The bidding prospectus for the programme will be published in due course.
This package of proposed measures will tackle poor quality and poor value for money in supported housing and improve outcomes for individuals, while preserving good quality provision run by responsible providers.”
Reacting to the announcement, Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “We are pleased that government is acting on councils’ concerns about the minority of unscrupulous landlords who exploit the supported housing system for financial gain while providing poor quality accommodation and support to people in vulnerable circumstances.
“This has a significant and detrimental impact on the lives of the people who live in poor-quality housing without the right level of support, and the wider community, as well as a cost to the public purse.
“We look forward to working with government, supported housing providers, people with lived experience of supported housing and other partners to take forward the important measures announced today and ensure this moves along at pace.”
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “The National Housing Federation agrees that there needs to be better oversight of both quality and value for money in parts of the supported housing market.
Residents with support needs should feel confident that they will be provided with appropriate housing and have access to high quality support service.
We welcome this announcement and will work closely with our members and the government on the detail, including pressing for much-needed dedicated funding for housing related support.”