Supported housing funding scrutinized


New plans to fund supported housing through Housing Benefit or Universal Credit have been criticised by a joint committee made up of the Work and Pensions Committee and the Communities and Local Government Committee.

The joint committee published a report stating that the new funding formula is inappropriate and could lead to a shortfall in the availability of supported housing.

The new plans involve funding supported housing through Housing Benefit or Universal Credit up to the level of the applicable Local Housing Allowance (LHA). For costs above the LHA, the Government would devolve top-up funding to local authorities.

The committee states that instead the Government should consider introducing a new Supported Housing Allowance to better reflect the actual costs of provision in the sector.

Richard Graham MP, Co-Chair of the inquiry, said: “Supported housing is deeply valued by those who live in it and contributes enormously to their independence and wellbeing.

“We support the Government’s aims to reform funding for this vital sector to ensure quality and value for money, protect and boost supply, and provide greater local control. But we are concerned that the proposals, as they stand, are unlikely to achieve these objectives.”

The Government announced these new plans in 2016 to start operating in April 2019.

Helen Hayes MP, Co-Chair of the inquiry, said: “The proposals have caused considerable concern. Supported housing providers are reconsidering investment plans, shortfalls in the levels of service are expected to get substantially worse and vulnerable tenants are anxious that they may no longer have the guarantee of a home for life.”

Over 700,000 people in the UK currently live in supported housing. Accommodation is provided for older people, people with learning or physical disabilities, people at risk of homelessness, and shelter for people at risk of domestic violence, as well as others.

Grants and benefits to help with housing costs are available.