A tailored approach to protect and encourage the supply of a wide range of supported housing has been set out by government. 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.
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.
Local Government Minister Marcus Jones 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.”
David Orr, Chief Executive at the National Housing Federation, said, “I am confident the new system outlined by the Government today addresses concerns about the long-term stability of funding for most schemes. This, coupled with assurances about levels of funding and a new timetable of 2020, will give housing associations the certainty they need to keep providing and building these homes.
“The government has provided assurances that automatic entitlement will remain in place for people in short-term services, however we do need to consider the implications of a system where housing costs are paid through a local authority grant. We want to work with the Government to ensure users and providers are confident that the entitlement to payment is secure for the long term.
“There is still much at stake in the detail of the consultation and we look forward to working with the Government to get this right.”