The joint select committee has now published its key findings, which has adopted the Federation’s recommendations on the funding of supported housing.
2 May 2017
In September 2016, the Government announced its proposals for how supported housing should be funded. Alongside this, MPs set up a joint Department for Work and PensionsWP/Communities and Local Government select committee inquiry which the Federation’s public affairs team assisted in its evidence gathering, and worked to win support for. Thanks to all of our members and stakeholders who contributed to this inquiry either through written or oral evidence.
Whereas the Government's consultation focused solely on the implementation of their proposed model, the inquiry asked specific questions about whether elements of the proposed model were right or not. We consulted widely with members and stakeholders and submitted our own response to the inquiry, followed by our response to the Government's consultation.
The joint select committee has now published its key findings, and has adopted our recommendations.
We strongly welcome these findings. The importance of these coming from a cross-party group of MPs who have reached consensus around many of our recommendations cannot be understated.
The report states its concern that "the Government does not seem to be aware of the impact its funding proposals are already having on the supported housing sector", and calls for:
- A new supported housing allowance which is banded to reflect the actual cost of provision in the sector, instead of the Local Housing Allowance rate, which the report says is an inappropriate mechanism to use as a basis for the funding model.
- A new capital grant scheme to ensure core rent and service charges for new supply would remain broadly consistent with existing stock.
- The Government to guarantee the ring-fence around local authority top-up funding for the duration of the next Parliament, and a clear indication of its desire for the fund to remain in the long term.
- An alternative funding mechanism for very short-term accommodation, given the inability of Universal Credit to reflect short-term changes in circumstance. The Committees recommend grants to local authorities, which can commission accommodation and pay providers. They also call for a separate funding model for women’s refuges.
- The scheme to have a proper pilot.
- The Government to ensure providers are aware that supported housing tenants claiming Universal Credit will not be worse off if they seek employment. A job should be seen as an important milestone towards independence and self-sufficiency.
- The Government should establish a set of national standards to enable monitoring of the quality of provision in all supported housing in England and Wales, with a specific emphasis on improving the quality of life that tenants experience.
- The Government to undertake an assessment of the final funding proposal to assess its impact of the future provision of supported housing.
- The Government will respond to these findings following the General Election.