Why more social homes are crucial for people moving on from supported housing

Claire Wise, 08 July 2024

The impact of the shortage of social housing is acutely felt in the supported housing sector. Affordable social housing not only provides genuine homes for residents, but tenures in the social housing sector provide additional services to help residents maintain their tenancy. It is this critical difference that can make social housing the preferred tenure type for people leaving supported housing services.

Why are social homes crucial for people moving on from supported housing?

Whilst many supported housing services meet temporary needs, such as routes out of homelessness and acute mental health needs, some residents will have long term support needs. In these cases, supported housing helps residents have their core needs met and develop tenancy skills to access general needs housing.

The shortage of social housing has meant that there is an increased dependency on the private rented sector to enable move-on from supported housing services. Private rented accommodation is expensive and often will have few safety nets to help people when they start to experience difficulties in their homes, be that financial or otherwise. By comparison, most housing association and council-managed housing will have teams that can spot changes in payment patterns, help people to access benefits to help pay for their housing costs and offer payment plans when arrears occur. Whilst this support is valuable to all residents, they play a particularly critical role in preventing residents with support needs from reaching crisis.

How we help people find a move-on home at MTVH

At MTVH, we’ve had some success in supporting people to move-on from our supported living services into our general homes. Whilst most of our accommodation is let through council nominations, we operate our own choice-based lettings schemes for internal lettings. Residents receiving support in MTVH-owned accommodation qualify for this. Because of the landscape in which we operate, we have been able to support residents to move from one borough to another, either to be closer to family and friends or to access employment opportunities. Not all support providers are also social housing landlords though and so this option may not be available to everyone in supported housing.

To complement this, where we have real success in supporting sustainable move-on is in local authority areas where the council offers a quota or priority for move-on. For individuals where tenancy sustainment support may be beneficial in the long term, a move into social housing will likely be more successful than a move into the private rented market, providing greater security and a more suitable home. Local authorities should consider move-on quotas if they don’t already have them.

How can we make sure everyone gets a home that meets their needs?

Our plea is for local authorities to work with housing associations to offer a quota or priority for move-on on the housing register, so that those that may need the additional support that social housing landlords can provide have the best chance of success in sustaining the tenancy in their new home.

A new government should also prioritise social house building so there are enough social homes for people leaving supported housing to move on to.