January 24, 2018|
Government consultation on future funding for supported housing.
The Government consultation on future funding arrangements for supported housing closed on 23rd January. The consultation covered long term sheltered and supported housing for older people and those with learning or other disabilities as well as our own services, which were classed as short-term supported housing, defined as up to two years. Foundation submitted a response to the proposals for our type of services.
A summary of the Government proposals which most affect us are set out below with our response to them;
the proposal is that instead of funding rents through the benefit system a grant allocation would be made to each local authority to pay directly for the supported housing placements they assess are needed in their area.
- Our response: We said that this system would work well for the first 6 months of a claim since it would help customers in crisis, who may not have the right documents to make a universal credit claim and may have to move on in a very short space of time. For all other customers we have opposed the proposals because they could go for two years without being able to build a rent payment history, it will inhibit customers learning how to manage the landlord relationship which is a key plank of independent living and their tenancy rights under a placement system would be eroded. We also expressed our concern that commissioners would only pay the higher level of housing management costs for customers who are eligible for a commissioned support service. This would reduce the support available for many people who don’t meet the more stringent criteria commissioners have applied over the past few years in order to ration services as public sector budgets have reduced.
Local authorities will be asked to prepare Supported Housing strategies covering all eligible groups and based on a thorough needs assessment in their area. A National Statement of Expectation will be drawn up by the Government which will set out the range of services local authorities will be expected to provide and what should be included in their strategies.
- Our response; We welcomed the intention to improve strategic planning for supported housing and the commitment to include all vulnerable groups in the plans. We expressed our worries that local authorities do not have the people, skills or reliable data on which to base these plans and without statutory force they may become just a paper exercise.
The Government wants to tie local authority commissioning more closely to the Strategic Plans and to the use of money from the Grant allocation.
- Our response: We pointed out that the short term nature of contracts does not help to promote a strategic approach to supported housing and was a disincentive for landlords to commit to providing good quality accommodation, or to develop new supported housing schemes. We also said that Local authority commissioning is not aligned with NHS, Criminal Justice or Prisons commissioning which has a huge impact on the demand for supported housing. This is making the cross agency work we need to do more difficult and is a waste of tax payer’s money.
FOUNDATION’S FULL RESPONSE IS AVAILABLE HERE: Response to supported Housing consultation Jan 2018 final
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