Today (Thursday 9 August) the Government announced that plans to fund ‘short-term’ supported housing via local authority grants have been dropped. All supported housing, including short-term, will continue to be funded via housing benefit – which will now be retained for this type of accommodation.
Plans to fund sheltered and extra-care housing via a new ‘sheltered rent’ have also been dropped in favour of continuing to fund these through housing benefit.
This is fantastic news and we are pleased that the Government has listened to the sector, working with us and others to bring forward a workable solution for the future funding of supported housing. This proposal brings an end to the uncertainty that has lingered over the sector since the end of 2015 with the original proposal to cap supported housing rents at Local Housing Allowance (LHA) levels.
Riverside has been a leading voice in the sector
For the past two years Riverside has been a leading voice in the sector, working closely with civil servants to create a sustainable funding system that secures the future for people living in hostels, refuges and safe houses, and those living in extra care and sheltered accommodation.
John Glenton, Riverside’s Executive Director of Care and Support, who gave evidence last year to the Select Committee inquiry into the future funding of supported housing, commented:
“We are delighted that Government has listened to the concerns we have raised about the need for keeping funding in the benefit system – it is a huge relief for all our customers who rely on these services.
“It also gives the necessary assurance to providers in the sector to re-invest and grow supply to meet need, now and into the future.
“The sector has worked well with Government to shape the outcome. And throughout the two-year review, Riverside has worked closely with civil servants to help shape a funding framework which best works to secure the future of supported housing for some of the most vulnerable people in society.”
We have also joined sector partners St Mungo’s, Salvation Army and YMCA England to welcome this news. Between them, the four organisations provide over one quarter of short-term supported housing in England.