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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

Download it here.

Statement on future funding of supported housing 09/11/2017 Labelled as Consultation, Finance

The government have issued a policy statement and consultation on the future funding of supported housing and are seeking responses by 23 January.

 

In launching the policy statement and consultation the government claim the proposals set out a tailored approach to protect and encourage the supply of a wide range of supported housing.

 

Local areas will be expected to take a bigger role in providing short-term and emergency housing through a ring-fenced grant to local authorities by April 2020, allowing vulnerable people to access secure accommodation without worrying about meeting housing costs at a difficult point in their lives. The grant will be underpinned by a National Statement of Expectation setting out how local authorities should plan effectively for provision in their area.

 

Supported housing provides a home to some of the most vulnerable people in this country and the vast majority is provided for older people. The government acknowledge that the supply of these homes needs to grow as this country's ageing population means that demand is forecast to increase.

 

The government say these reforms will ensure:

 

  • funding certainty for the sector, and encouraging long-term investment and new supply
  • local areas have a greater role in commissioning services
  • councils have a stronger role in providing the right services for their local areas

 

A summary of the proposals is set out in the ARCH Briefing 6/2017.

 

Key points of the government's proposals are: 

 

  • As previously reported, the Government has dropped plans to apply the Local Housing Allowance cap to social housing, including supported housing, and is now proposing a new funding model to apply from April 2020.

 

  • The new proposals envisage different funding models for three types of supported housing:

    • Sheltered and extra care supported housing: usually designated for older people with support needs;
    • Short-term and transitional support: for example housing for homeless people with support needs, those fleeing domestic abuse, vulnerable young people, offenders and those with drug and alcohol misuse problems;
    • Long-term support: for example housing for people with learning or physical disabilities or mental ill-health.
  • For sheltered housing, the Government plans a new "sheltered rent".

 

  • Funding for short-term and transitional supported housing, including that currently provided through housing benefit, will be transferred to ring-fenced local grant funds to be administered by local authorities (county councils in two-tier areas).

 

  • For long-term supported housing, since the LHA cap will not apply, rents (including eligible service charges) will continue to be fully eligible for Housing Benefit/Universal Credit.

 

  • Local authorities will be asked to undertake a needs assessment to identify current provision and future needs, and to produce a local plan setting out how funding will be used to meet these local needs.  Local partnerships between commissioners and providers (and county and district councils in two tier areas) will be encouraged, in order to plan and deliver provision. 

 

Views on the detailed implementation of the new funding model are invited in two consultation papers appended to the policy statement, one dealing with sheltered and extra care housing and the other with short-term supported accommodation. The deadline for comments on both is 23 January 2018.

 

The ARCH Executive Board will be considering the government's proposals at its meeting on 13 November and will be writing to the lead officer at each ARCH member council to invite the views of member authorities on the consultation proposals and take them into account in deciding on the ARCH response.    

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