On Wednesday 11 January, the Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill passed its Committee Stage reading in the Housing of Commons. This legislation is a Private Members’ Bill tabled by Bob Blackman MP which aims to tackle problematic exempt accommodation. It has been drafted with the help of homelessness charity Crisis and the government have confirmed they will be supporting it.
Due to the gaps in funding and oversight, profit-seeking landlords have been able to exploit this part of the supported housing market by providing dangerously inadequate housing and support services for vulnerable people. While this legislation rightly seeks to close those gaps, it is important that any reforms do not have unintended consequences for good providers who use the exempt model to house marginalised groups with support needs.
The NHF have been working closely with Bob Blackman MP, Crisis and government officials to ensure these reforms are targeted and effective. We know that most exempt accommodation is well run and provides much-needed support to those who need it, so it is therefore essential that the supply of good quality supported housing is protected. We have been holding a series of roundtable discussions and visits with Bob Blackman MP and supported housing providers to ensure that reforms are sensitive to the diversity and complexity of the sector.
During its Committee Stage reading, the Bill passed unamended with cross-party support. Speaking on behalf of the government, the Minster for Housing and Homelessness, Felicity Buchan MP, repeatedly emphasised the importance of consultation with the supported housing sector and the need to avoid unintended consequences for good providers.
The NHF welcomes our status as statutory consultees in this legislation and are committed to working closely with representatives from central government, local government and across the sector to ensure we get this right. The report stage of the Bill has been provisionally been scheduled for 3 March 2023. Please get in touch below if you have any questions about this.