Following uncertainty around the future of supported housing, a tailored approach to protect and encourage the supply of a wide range of supported housing has been set out by government.
All long-term housing will remain in the welfare system and a proposed ‘sheltered rent’ for sheltered and extra care housing will keep rent and service charges at an appropriate level, protecting the housing needs of older and vulnerable people.
Local areas will be taking a bigger role in providing short-term and emergency housing through a ring-fenced grant to local authorities by April 2020, allowing vulnerable people to access secure accommodation without worrying about meeting housing costs. The grant will be underpinned by a National Statement of Expectation setting out how local authorities should plan effectively for provision in their area. Currently, supported accommodation is funded through the welfare system, including the housing costs and extra support services.
The reforms aim to ensure:
- Funding certainty for the sector, encouraging long-term investment and new supply.
- Local areas have a greater role in commissioning services.
- Councils have a stronger role in providing the right services for their local areas.
Local Government Minister, Marcus Jones said, 'These reforms will deliver quality and value for money, funding certainty for the sector and give local areas a greater role in commissioning services.'
Councillor Colin Noble, County Councils Network spokesman for health and social care and leader of Suffolk County Council said, 'CCN welcomes [these] announcements on supported housing, giving upper-tier local authorities a greater role in commissioning and overseeing short-term supported accommodation. In particular, county leaders will welcome the government’s recommendation that counties lead strategic plans for supported housing and needs assessment.
'This is a recognition of their strategic role in local areas, in social care and wider service provision, allowing them to plan for the right supported homes and services in the right places, working in partnership with local health partners and district councils.'
The government’s latest policy statement is published online including further consultation on the detailed implementation of the flexible funding models for both sheltered rent and long-term supported accommodation.