The Government has published its response to the consultation on the funding model for supported housing, confirming that housing costs will continue to be paid through Housing Benefit.
10 August 2018
After years of insecurity, we believe this announcement finally provides the certainty needed for housing associations to continue providing and building vital homes and services that allow thousands of vulnerable people to live independent fulfilling lives.
Further detail on future funding
- Housing costs will remain in the benefit system for all supported housing, including schemes intended for people to stay for a significant period, sheltered and extra care, and those for people to stay for just a short time.
- We understand there will be no further consultation on long-term supported housing, as previously expected.
- The Government have also confirmed that there will be no introduction of a ‘sheltered rent’, which means there will be no cap on services charges in sheltered and extra care schemes.
- While housing costs will remain in the benefit system they will not be paid through Universal Credit. In the press statement the Government said that ‘Housing Benefit will remain in place.’ We are seeking to clarify what this means in practice and confirm that this still ensures long-term funding security. We will update members on this as soon as we can.
Next steps – our commitment to quality
We know the Government is keen to ensure quality and value for money across the whole sector, as it says in the announcement.
In advance of the announcement, we sent a joint letter to ministers, with Homeless Link and Women’s Aid, restating our commitment to work with the Government to achieve increased transparency and oversight of housing costs in supported housing. We therefore welcome the confirmation that the Government wants to work with us to do this. We will be in touch with members to explain how to contribute to this important work.
We have also learned that the Government will carry out a review of housing-related support to better understand how housing and support currently fit together. This is particularly welcome given that support funding remains under huge pressure across the sector, and is something we have long argued for. This will provide an opportunity for us to talk to the Government about how the whole system can work more effectively.
We will be running some events in the autumn, giving members the opportunity to work through the implications of the announcement with colleagues, and will provide further details about these events soon.
Celebrate with Starts at Home Day – 31 August
That the Government have heard the concerns of the sector and changed their minds is a testament to the fantastic local lobbying carried by all of our members up and down the country, including writing to hundreds of MPs and opening the doors of schemes to politicians and stakeholders.
In particular our Starts at Home campaign, which has focused on real, positive stories from those living in supported housing, has told the country how important these services are.
Join us on Starts at Home Day, 31 August 2018, to continue celebrating and championing supported housing. A number of resources are available on our website and you can get involved using #StartsAtHome.