Providers responsible for more than a quarter all of ‘short-term’ supported housing in the UK, supporting thousands of people with experience of homelessness every year, have today welcomed the government’s plans for the sector’s future funding, which will see housing benefit retained for all forms of supported housing.
The Salvation Army, Riverside, St Mungo’s and YMCA have campaigned to ensure funding for supported housing did not move to a local grant funding model, which had been the government’s intention last October.
In a joint statement, the organisations said:
“We are pleased that the government has listened to our views, and the views of the wider supported housing sector, and chosen to re-think its previous proposal, in favour of maintaining housing benefit. After a period of uncertainty, we are now clear that this will offer much needed stability and security to residents, local communities, providers and staff.
“Our experience and research tells us that our residents’ ability to exercise their right to claim support for housing costs through the social security system provides a solid platform from which to begin achieving their aims and aspirations. We are, therefore, delighted that they will continue to enjoy this right, alongside residents in sheltered, specialist and long-term supported housing.
“This funding model will enable providers to continue to invest in existing services, offering the best possible support to residents and their local communities. And at a time where demand for supported housing already significantly outstrips supply, it will also ensure that providers are able to continue developing new, high-quality accommodation.
“As the quality of the accommodation and support on offer to residents and local communities is of the utmost importance, we are pleased to see that the government has committed to introducing a robust oversight regime for supported housing.
“We look forward to continuing our work with government to implement this new form of oversight, improving transparency around things like value for money and cost control. Supported housing is the backbone of our homelessness provision and it is vital that high standards are maintained.
“Over the longer term, we are also keen to work with government as part of its review into housing related support. Now that funding for the housing costs element of supported housing has been secured, it is vital that services receive the necessary support funding to continue working with people in the most effective way possible.
“We believe that a secure, high quality supported housing sector is vital to the success of wider policy initiatives and that the benefits brought by today’s announcement should not be viewed in isolation. For example, it will have a crucial role to play in underpinning the measures contained within the government’s imminent Rough Sleeping Strategy, ensuring wider improvements across all local and national systems that support people with experience of homelessness, including physical and mental health, addictions and criminal justice.”