The Department for Work and Pensions and Communities and Local Government Select Committees have released a joint report into the future of supported housing.
As a national provider of supported housing for single homeless people, families, and older people, we welcome the report’s timely publication and many of its recommendations, which we hope will help to inform the Government’s forthcoming Green Paper on its proposals for a new funding model for supported housing.
Having submitted written evidence to the inquiry, we are particularly pleased to note the Committees’ assertion that capping the amount of housing benefit people can receive for supported housing at the Local Housing Allowance rate (LHA) is “an inappropriate starting point for a new funding mechanism for supported housing.”
A Salvation Army spokesperson, said: “We are pleased that the Select Committees’ report has highlighted many of the problems with the suggested funding model for supported housing which we also highlighted in our written evidence to the inquiry. The proposed funding model as it stands could have very serious consequences for the sector and the people we support. We hope that the report’s recommendations will see amendments made to the suggested funding model, so that those who are most vulnerable in our society will continue to be able to receive the support they need.”The Salvation Army welcomes the proposed introduction of a new Supported Housing Allowance as the basis for a system of funding tailored to the different types of provision, which would ensure the majority of people living in supported housing would not require an additional grant or top up funding. We welcome the report’s acknowledgment that a different funding model is needed for “emergency” and “very short term” supported housing services. However, as a provider whose residents’ stays can vary from a matter of days to several years, we believe that more thinking is required on how to provide the most stable form of funding for services of this kind. To maximise our resident’s security, we would suggest that funding should continue to be provided through the social security system, whilst minimising the disruption currently caused by Universal Credit’s inability to process payments for stays of less than six weeks.