What is supported housing?

Supported housing exists to ensure those with support needs can lead a healthy and fulfilling life within their own home and community. While the services range widely, they all play a crucial role in providing a safe and secure home with support for people to live independently.

This includes:

  • providing the support older people need to maintain their independence
  • providing emergency refuge and support for victims of domestic violence, helping them to stabilise their lives and engage with other services
  •  working with homeless people with complex and multiple needs to help them make the transition from life on the street to a settled home, education, training or employment
  • supporting people with mental health needs to stabilise their lives, recover and live more independently
  • supporting ex-servicemen and women to find a stable home, including support for those with mental health and physical disability needs
  • supporting people with learning disabilities in the longer term to maximise their independence and exercise choice and control over their lives.

The cost of supported housing

Supported housing differs from general needs social housing because support and care services are provided in addition to housing management, meaning that there are higher staff levels. It is often provided in partnership with a range of organisations and usually requires higher levels of funding.

However, the alternatives costs more - in 2010 it was estimated that supported housing delivers net annual savings to the public purse of around £640m across all client groups or just under £1,000 per person per year.

A lack of appropriate support can result in huge costs to public services and in some cases create serious antisocial behaviour problems. Appropriate housing and support is vital in helping people to move on from dependency to an independent healthy life, as well as connecting them to services, work and training opportunities and social contacts.