The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has announced £20m of funding for local councils with the Supported Housing Improvement Programme, aimed at tackling extortionate rents and other factors contributing to current poor standards of supported housing
Supported housing provides accommodation alongside care, support, or supervision, helping vulnerable people across the country and should reach appropriate standards in doing so.
In short-term supported housing, residents may have experienced homelessness, mental health issues or domestic abuse, and schemes should provide them with the skills and confidence to enter longer-term independent accommodation.
Many people in supported housing receive tailored support to help them access health services or mental health support, manage their finances, find employment and/or sustain a tenancy.
But there are instances of supported housing landlords providing unacceptable levels of support while charging extortionate rents. Loopholes are also manipulated to allow minimal accountability for poor standards of supported housing.
The new government package contains measures that will deliver:
- Minimum standards for support provided to residents 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 Benefits regulations to seek to define care, support, and supervision to improve quality across all specified supported housing provision
This follows successful pilots which saw DLUHC work with 5 local authorities around England to improve supported housing in these areas.
From October 2020 to September 2021, DLUHC funded 5 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 independent evaluation of the pilots was published in April 2022. It found that increasing local authority capacity and capability had a positive impact on their ability to improve quality and value for money, improving the standards of supported housing at a local level.
“Having a settled home gives people the security to improve their lives”
Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes MP 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. 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 MP 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.”