Funding for supported housing for older people to encourage building new homes

Date published: 03 November 2017

A tailored approach to protect and encourage the supply of a wide range of supported housing has been set out and all long-term housing will remain in the welfare system and a proposed ‘sheltered rent’ for sheltered and extra care housing will keep rent and service charge at an appropriate level, protecting the housing needs of older and vulnerable people.

Local areas will be taking a bigger role in providing short-term and emergency housing through a ring-fenced grant to local authorities by April 2020, allowing vulnerable people to access secure accommodation without worrying about meeting housing costs at a difficult point in their lives.

The grant will be underpinned by a National Statement of Expectation setting out how local authorities should plan effectively for provision in their area.

Supported housing provides a home to some of the most vulnerable people in this country and the vast majority is provided for older people. The government knows the supply of these homes needs to grow as this country’s ageing population means that demand is forecast to increase.

Currently supported accommodation is funded through the welfare system, including the housing costs and extra support services. These reforms will ensure:

  • Funding certainty for the sector, and encouraging long-term investment and new supply.
  • Local areas have a greater role in commissioning services.
  • Councils have a stronger role in providing the right services for their local areas.

A spokesman for Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, who welcomed the proposals, commented: “We are pleased with the proposals announced on 31 October regarding funding for supported housing.

“RBH has contributed extensively to the debate on funding for supported housing over the past two years, both nationally and regionally in partnership with fellow housing associations and the National Housing Federation (NHF). We hope that the strong case put forward by the sector has helped to inform the Government of the need for a fair funding model and the impact on our tenants if this did not happen.

“It is good news that long-term costs for independent living and extra care will remain in the benefits system under a new 'sheltered housing rent', which will also include the full range of service charges. This will keep costs for our tenants at an appropriate level whilst ensuring that RBH can continue to provide the services required. We are also pleased about the commitments on short term and emergency accommodation, and on specialist supported housing for those with specific needs.

“The new funding system will not now be introduced until 2020. We manage and provide over 2000 units of specialist accommodation across the Borough, and we will make sure that the interests of our tenants are represented in the forthcoming consultation.”

Tony Lloyd, Rochdale MP and Shadow Housing Minister, commented: “The government made a mess on this, which threatened to close places like refuges that offer support to women who have fled domestic violence or are in the very early stages of pregnancy or motherhood or people who need help overcoming drug or alcohol issues.

“The government got this badly wrong because they were going to get rid of allowing that support. I welcome the u-turn and will always support the government they change, which is right and proper. However, we have not seen the small print yet and need to know this is permanent and not just for media headlines.”

The consultation on the detailed implementation of the flexible funding model for supported housing will run until 23 January 2018.

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