The Government issued a policy statement and consultation on ‘Funding Supported Housing’ on 31st October 2017.
Supported housing is any housing scheme where accommodation is provided alongside care support or supervision to help people to live as independently as possible in the community.
This Policy Statement and Consultation on Funding Supported Housing has been broadly welcomed in the sector in that is an important step towards ending the uncertainty surrounding the future funding of sheltered housing that has been caused by the government’s welfare reforms and earlier announcements; and as it represents the abandonment of the government’s proposals to cap housing benefit and the housing element of universal credit at the level of the local housing allowance, and to fund services in sheltered housing through a locally administered top-up grant.
However, the government does not address the question of how the funding and management of housing, adult social care and health could be better integrated.
The government proposes to introduce different funding mechanisms for sheltered housing, short-term supported housing and long-term supported housing.
In the case of sheltered housing there will be a ‘Sheltered Rent’ based on the existing rent formula plus a new element to cover service charges. It is not yet known how the service charges element will be calculated and this will be critical if the new system is to result in providers having the confidence to increase the provision of sheltered housing to meet increased need.
In the case of short-term supported housing, government will provide local authorities with a ring-fenced grant to fund all housing costs including rent and service charges. There are concerns that, as these will be short-term revenue grants, the system will not provide sufficient certainty for providers to commit to long-term investment in short-term supported housing; and that in time resources may be insufficient to meet needs and / or the ring-fence around the grant may be removed thus causing a contraction in the service.
In the case of long-term supported housing the government is proposing that the existing system based on housing benefit and the housing element of universal credit will be continued.
The government is currently consulting on the details of its proposals for sheltered housing and short-term supported housing.
The purpose of this briefing paper is to summarise the policy statement and consultation and the reaction to it of the sector and to provide some commentary.
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