Currently there are plans to change the way in which supported housing is funded. If these plans are implemented incorrectly, many supported housing services, including our own residential centres for people experiencing homelessness, may be forced to close, with residents left to find alternative accommodation in an increasingly competitive rental market and without the additional support their needs require.
We call on the next government to recognise the value of supported housing which helps those who are most vulnerable transform their lives, participate in education, and employment. We ask the next government to ensure that any reforms to the funding of supported housing will provide stability for residents, access to support services of all kinds, and stability for the wider communities of which they are a part.
Residential care for older people
As the number of older people continues to increase, the need for affordable adult social care is becoming more pressing. However, for many older people without substantial savings or resources, their choice of care can be limited and of poor quality. Without the right kind of support, older people’s needs will often worsen to the point where they require more specialist forms of NHS support, including expensive forms of hospital care. As a provider of both community-based support and residential care for older people, The Salvation Army is well aware of the benefit of providing high quality, person-centred care in a friendly and supportive atmosphere; allowing people in later life to continue playing an active role in their communities by exploring new avenues and activities, visiting with their friends and family and continuing to maintain their independence.
In order to ensure that older people who are unable to self-fund their care are able to have more choice and control over the support they receive, we ask the next government to provide a sustainable source of funding to local authorities to ensure they are able to set fair fee rates, which accurately reflect the costs of quality domiciliary and residential social care.
Economic activity – areas of high deprivation
If we want economic prosperity for all, it is vital that people have the right kind of support to help them look for work and develop the right skills to maintain their employment and progress within their chosen careers. Mainstream employment support services, such as Jobcentre Plus, will often prove successful in helping unemployed people to find work. Yet, despite their success, they can sometimes fail to engage with people in certain situations.
Many of the problems that can prevent people from engaging with existing employment support services will be exacerbated by where they live, with areas of high deprivation often producing the highest levels of severe and multiple disadvantage. As a consequence, it can be much harder to find the right type of employment support in areas where it is most needed. This in turn prevents those same areas from benefiting from the advantages of having people in employment who are able to purchase local goods and services.
Building on The Salvation Army’s experience of running Employment Plus Local services (E+ Local) we ask the next government to commit to providing a full range of employment support options, including services which are available to vulnerable people who find they cannot engage with the social security system. To ensure these services are correctly targeted, any new funding should be weighted towards local areas experiencing the highest levels of severe and multiple disadvantage.
* Employment Plus Local is an entirely voluntary employment service available to any unemployed person who is looking for work, including those who have struggled or been unable to engage with Jobcentre Plus.