Following last week’s announcement that the Local Housing Allowance cap would no longer be applied to supported housing, The Salvation Army has expressed disappointment with the government’s new approach to funding what it terms ‘short-term’ supported housing.
Major Howard Russell, Deputy Territorial Director of Homelessness Services, said: “Throughout our work on the future funding of supported housing, The Salvation Army has been clear that the new funding system should provide long term security to both residents and services. The clearest way to offer this security, as detailed in recent analysis by Frontier Economics, is to maintain residents’ entitlement to claim help with their housing costs through the social security system via housing benefit or Universal Credit.
“We are, therefore, deeply concerned that the government appears to have moved in the opposite direction and is now proposing to fund ‘short-term’ supported housing, including accommodation for homeless people, as well refuges for victims of domestic violence, via a wholly localised, cash-limited system.
“While we note the government’s intention to ring-fence funding within this new system, if this funding is distributed on a short-term basis, in line with current commissioning cycles, The Salvation Army will be unable to plan for the future with any great certainty and be exposed to significant levels of financial risk.
“We also harbour concerns over how levels of funding will be calculated, both nationally and locally. As the recent National Audit Office report into homelessness outlines, rough sleeping has risen by 134 per cent since 2010, whilst the number of available bed spaces for people experiencing homelessness has decreased. It is vital that the new funding system is able to accurately assess and adjust to levels of need, especially if they continue to increase. It is crucial that everyone who requires access to funding receives it.
“The Salvation Army is fully committed to continuing to offer the highest possible standard of accommodation and support to our residents. We will be making every effort to engage with the government over their new proposal, including through the current consultation, to ensure the best possible result for our residents and services.”