Funding Supported Housing

  • Funding Supported Housing

    As you may have heard the UK Government announced recently (August 2018) that is has effectively withdrawn the key principles of its 2017 Consultations on the future funding of supported housing. This, we hope, puts an end to 3 years of uncertainty around funding.

    The key points from the UK Government's 24 page statement are as follows:

    • The proposal to devolve a ring-fenced sum of money to English local authorities to fund so-called Short-Term Supported Housing has been dropped. We assume that the UK Government will not now devolve sums of money to national governments as proposed
    • The idea of Sheltered Rent has been dropped
    • All forms of supported and sheltered housing will have their additional housing costs met from within the welfare system
    • The UK Government wants to see a "robust oversight regime" for supported housing
    • The UK Government wants to review "housing related support" and the relationship between eligible service charges and support

    We think that all of these points are positives but we also think that the UK Government needs to frame and consult on revised approaches. These should include:

    • Ensuring that supported housing costs are funded fully through the welfare system by a "Supported Housing Rent". This would take the form of an enhanced housing component of Universal Credit and Pension Credit within which the variable costs of both housing and additional needs are reflected in a simple banded system that matches needs with resources
    • Revised definitions of different types of supported housing. The "Sheltered & Extracare" definition should remain but "Short-Term" and "Long-Term" supported housing definitions should be replaced by "Immediate Access Accommodation", "Intermediate Needs" and "Intensive Needs" supported housing. Supported housing should not be defined by timescale but by intensity of need.
    • Any oversight regime should be underpinned by Value Generation principles (outcomes for people, cost-benefit to the public purse and wider community benefit) and not by a crude "cost control" approach, which has been very destructive (and expensive) for supported housing. Furthermore, people who make judgements about the cost and quality of supported housing should be separate from people who commission supported housing
    • Any review of "housing related support" should be undertaken in the context of an integrated approach to supported housing, social care and healthcare and it should be undertaken with a recognition that funding for "support" has effectively disappeared in most parts of the UK. 

    The £2.1bn of annual revenue to fund Intensive Housing Management that has been injected into the welfare system, largely as a consequence of the work that Support Solutions has done since 2005, is a good basis for funding supported housing going forward but there remains a funding gap where HB ineligible support tasks are no longer funded. Any new funding system must acknowledge this. The easiest way to do so is to ensure that an enhanced housing component of Universal/Pension Credit has sufficient scope to meet both Intensive Housing Management and support costs.

    You can read more about this in our latest Briefing: "New Arrangements for Funding Supported Housing".

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