New funding and guidance to improve housing support for vulnerable people

  • Government sets out clear expectations on supported housing standards
  • New measures will ensure that vulnerable people have safe, good quality homes
  • £3 million to test approaches for high quality support and accommodation

New funding for supported housing pilots in priority areas has been announced today (20 October 2020) by Kelly Tolhurst, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, as part of measures to improve standards and quality in supported housing.

The government has published a new National Statement of Expectations (NSE), setting out what it expects to see in standards, quality and value for money in supported housing and how this can be achieved by bringing together best practice across the sector.

The government has also announced £3 million to fund pilots in 5 areas – Birmingham, Hull, Blackpool, Bristol and Blackburn – to improve quality, enforcement, oversight and value for money in supported housing, focusing on short-term supported accommodation. The pilots will run until the end of March 2021.

The supported housing pilots will involve collaborative working between local partners and will carefully test different approaches to greater oversight of the sector and how higher standards could be enforced. The pilots are intended to improve quality of non-commissioned provision in priority areas.

Kelly Tolhurst, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing said:

Providing good quality homes to people who have been homeless, or who are unable to live independently, is fundamental to our support for vulnerable people

I know that most supported housing providers already provide a good service and it is right that we expect standards to be high. My statement today sends a strong message to providers that don’t meet our benchmark that they need to shape up.

The pilots we are funding will explore different approaches to supported housing, to further raise the quality of service across the country.

Lords Minister for the Department for Work and Pensions, Baroness Stedman-Scott said:

Supported housing has the power to change the lives of the most vulnerable people in our communities for the better.

Backed by £3 million, we will work with experienced partners to make sure that, across the board, this vital support is up to scratch.

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, said:

We are glad to see the government taking this important step to set clear expectations for standards in supported housing. The National Statement of Expectations demonstrates the value of supported housing and reflects our close work with the government, as well as our members – the housing associations which provide most of the supported housing in this country.

We also welcome the funding for pilots, which will provide an opportunity to review how we can ensure these homes and services are of high quality, which housing associations are absolutely committed to.

Supported housing plays a vital role in our society, ensuring that thousands of people have the home and support they need to live independent and healthy lives. We must continue to invest in it and develop it, including building more supported housing to help more people access these desperately needed services.

In supported housing, accommodation is provided alongside care, support or supervision to help people live as independently as possible in the community.

Supported housing provides homes for some of the most vulnerable people in the country. The vast majority is for older residents, but it also serves people from other vulnerable groups, such as those with disabilities, and those at risk of or with experience of homelessness.

During the pandemic, the government has worked closely with councils and the sector to offer vulnerable people safe accommodation and support.

That work is ongoing and in September the government had successfully supported over 29,000 people, with 10,000 in emergency accommodation and nearly 19,000 provided with settled accommodation or other support such as supported housing.

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