Councils to have greater role in providing supported housing

1 Nov 17

The government has outlined its vision for a “tailored” approach to supported housing, which would give local authorities more control.

Ministers said councils should have a greater role in commissioning services and provision in their local areas.

The government’s ‘flexible funding’ approach will feature a ring-fenced grant for supported housing and a sheltered rent for sheltered and extra care housing.

The Department for Communities and Local Government stated that this grant would be underpinned by a ‘national statement of expectation’, which will set out how local authorities should plan effectively for provision in their area.

Under the plans all 'long-term housing' will remain in the welfare system and the proposed sheltered rent would keep rent and service charges at an “appropriate” level for older and vulnerable people by April 2020.

Yesterday’s announcement came alongside the launch of two consultations on housing costs for extra care and sheltered housing and on short-term supported accommodation.

This follows Theresa May’s announcement last week that the government would scrap Local Housing Allowance caps for social housing, including supported housing. 

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, said it was important local authorities were well enough resourced to carry out their role effectively.

“We look forward to seeing further detail of these proposals, and working with government to make sure that local authorities are able to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in their communities,” he said.

Terrie Alafat, chief executive of Chartered Institute of Housing said the proposals offered “much-needed reassurance” to the sector.

Although, she added: “We are concerned the proposals fall quite a way short of what is needed to properly support other vital forms of specialist housing that provide immediate and short-term support to people who have been victims of homelessness or domestic abuse, for example.”

David Orr, chief executive at the National Housing Federation, said it was important to “consider the implications of a system where housing costs are paid through a local authority grant”.

Although, he added: “I am confident the new system outlined by the government today addresses concerns about the long-term stability of funding for most schemes.”

Marcus Jones, local government minister, said: “This government is committed to boosting the supply of new homes, and helping people to live independently and with dignity for as long as possible.

“This is why we are giving the supported housing sector the certainty of funding they need to get building new homes.”

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