The Government backs good quality supported housing

  1. It is indeed encouraging to note that our Government seems firmly committed to ensuring that supported housing delivers what it should do - a better life outcome and improved wellbeing and health for the vulnerable people who find themselves in need of this vital type of housing in the UK.

  2. In a House of Commons debate in March this year, we were assured by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing and Rough Sleeping in the UK, Eddie Hughes, MP, that the Government have pledged to invest £11.5 billion in affordable homes programmes which includes new supported housing for older, disabled and other vulnerable people.

  3. In the same debate, rogue landlords were warned that their days are numbered and the Government is determined to crack down on landlords who charge high rents for poor quality accommodation with little or no support. The Government intends to bring forward measures to put an end to unscrupulous landlords who care only about lining their pockets whilst exploiting the needs of some of the most vulnerable in our society.

  4. To be clear however, those who are providing a good quality service are not the target. Quality will rise to the top and, whatever changes may be made, we would not expect providers who are already maintaining their schemes to the required standard to be penalised as their service to this housing sector is absolutely vital to the Government.

Measures to be brought forward

  1. In seeking to maintain a high standard of good quality supported housing, the Government intends to progress the following measures:

(a) To clarify the minimum standards that are required for the support provided to residents so that they can live in their accommodation as independently as possible and achieve their personal goals;

(b) New powers for local authorities in England will be introduced to help them to manage their local supported housing market and flush out rogue providers;

(c) Changes to Housing Benefit regulations will be considered with a view to better defining care, support and supervision which, in turn, will help to improve the quality and value for money of specified supported housing provision;

(d) When parliamentary time allows, new measures will be introduced which require legislation; and

(e) To work closely with local government, sector representatives, providers and people with experience of supported housing as they develop these measures to ensure that they are fit for purpose and that they can be delivered in actuality to the long-term benefit of this housing sector where good quality supported housing is so needed.

Further funding promised

  1. In addition to the above, at the same debate, Eddie Hughes also announced that the Government will be providing £20 million for a supported housing improvement programme. This funding will last for a period of 3 years and will be open to bids from all local authorities and build on the success of the supported housing pilots undertaken during 2020 and 2021. It is interesting to note Mr Hughes summary of these pilots:

The pilot authorities were able to drive up the quality of accommodation and support to residents. They also improved value for money through enhanced scrutiny of housing benefit claims to verify that costs were legitimate and reasonable.

  1. This supported housing improvement programme is intended to assist with driving up the quality of this housing sector in some of the worst affected areas in the first instance. Meanwhile, the Government will develop and implement longer-term regulatory changes.

Final remarks

  1. This package of proposed measures is intended to ‘tackle poor quality and poor value for money in supported housing and improve outcomes for individuals, while preserving good quality provision run by responsible providers

(Eddie Hughes - commons/2022-03-17/debates/22031756000007/HousingUpdate)

  1. Only time will tell if these measures will fulfil their purpose.

MR Associates - October 2022