CHC responds to UK Government proposals on supported accommodation
UK Government has today announced consultations will begin on new funding arrangements for short-term and long-term supported accommodation. The announcement details that sheltered and extra care housing will continue to be funded through the welfare benefit system, maintaining the status quo.
It has also been confirmed the Local Housing Allowance cap will not be applied to the social housing sector which we welcomed last week. The decision followied the release of our research report illustrating clear issues with the policy.
Today’s announcement proposes a tripartite arrangement for supported housing that recognises the varying types of supported accommodation:
1) Sheltered and extra care housing (usually designated for older people, but including some working age tenants): Rent and eligible service charges will continue to be funded by Housing Benefit through the existing welfare benefit system. In England a ‘Sheltered Rent’ will be introduced from April 2020 which will be consulted on over the next 12 weeks.
2) Short term supported accommodation (for those in crisis such as those fleeing domestic violence and homeless people with support needs, or shorter term transitional help for those with substance misuse problems or vulnerable young people, such as care leavers): Today a 12 week consultation has been launched on the proposal to create localised funding arrangements to cover rent and service charges for this type of accommodation in England. This is to solve the issues caused by Universal Credit in short-term housing. It is proposed that the amount of short-term supported housing grant funding will be set on the basis of current projections of future need and will continue to take account of the costs of provision in this part of the sector. In Wales and Scotland, an equivalent amount will be provided and it will be for those administrations to decide how best to allocate funding.
The consultation document proposes that this will be introduced from April 2020. We will be working closely with our members to ensure that the proposed definition of short term accommodation meets the needs of providers and that the new arrangements provide certainty and the sustainability of short term accommodation. You can view the consultation document here: Funding supported housing consultation
3) Long term supported accommodation (for those with long-term needs, such as people with learning or physical disabilities, or mental ill health): Rent and eligible service charges will continue to be funded by Housing Benefit through the existing welfare benefit system. However, UK Govt will be working with the sector and devolved nations to come up with proposals on how this should be funded going forward, given the plans to end housing benefit from 2022.
Responding to today’s announcement, Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru said:
“We welcome confirmation that sheltered and extra care housing will continue to be funded by the welfare benefit system. We now need to ensure that short-term and long-term supported accommodation will be adequately funded to sustain this much needed support and accommodation for vulnerable working age people. We will continue to work closely with Welsh Government and our members to ensure that devolved policies, such as rent, are considered as these proposals develop.”