The government has announced a new Supported Housing Improvement Programme to “help councils in worst-affected areas tackle bad quality and poor value for money in supported housing.”

The package of measures include:

  • minimum standards for support provided to residents in order to help their progress towards living independently
  • new powers for local authorities to better manage their local supported housing market and ensure no individual falls through the cracks
  • changes to Housing Benefit regulations to seek to define care, support, and supervision to improve quality across all specified supported housing provision

Alongside this, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) are opening the bidding round for local councils to apply for funding from this new programme.

This follows successful pilots which saw DLUHC work with 5 local authorities around England to improve supported housing in these areas.

Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Eddie Hughes, said: “We want vulnerable residents living in supported housing to have safe, appropriate accommodation, which meets their needs and can help them move onto more independent living.

“I’m pleased to open our Supported Housing Improvement Programme for bids today. This will build on the momentum from our successful pilots, helping councils in the worst-affected areas to tackle bad quality and poor value for money in supported housing, while preserving good provision by responsible providers.”

Minister for Welfare Delivery, David Rutley, said: “The welfare system acts as a safety net to help people, including those living in supported housing and the Improvement Programme further strengthens that.

“Having a settled home gives people the security to improve their lives by getting on the employment ladder or taking other steps towards financial independence.

“This, supported by changes we recently announced which will give people on benefits the choice of putting money towards a deposit, provides the chance to make progress on the pathway to home ownership.”

From October 2020 to September 2021, DLUHC funded five local authorities (Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Hull and Bristol) to test interventions to raise standards of accommodation and support and improve local authority oversight of the local supported housing market.

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. ”