Government proposals to change the way supported housing is funded are causing real concern to our most vulnerable citizens.
This type of specialist housing plays a vital role in providing secure, supported accommodation to thousands of vulnerable people experiencing homelessness or other such as victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities or mental illness, young adults leaving care and ex-armed forces personnel.
The government’s proposals could lead to the closure of vital housing for some of the most vulnerable people in our country.
At the General Election I stood on a manifesto that committed to halting the current government’s plans, which a wide range of charities, housing associations and councils all say will lead to the closure of homelessness hostels and other vital housing for some of the most vulnerable people in our country.
A joint report by the All-Party Communities and Local Government and the Work and Pensions select committees called on the government to scrap its proposals after it found it was unlikely to achieve its objective of finding a long-term, sustainable funding mechanism that ensures quality and which boosts the supply of supported housing. It detailed the evidence of the value of supported housing and set out the devastating impact that uncertainty about government funding for supported housing is having on the sector. Research published since then has confirmed that 85 per cent of new supported housing schemes have been put on hold.
A consultation on the government’s proposals for a new housing costs funding model for supported housing closed in February. The government says it is considering the responses to the consultation, along with the recommendations of the joint report, and Ministers have told MPs that they now expect to confirm their plans ‘in the autumn.’
In September, homelessness charity St. Mungo’s produced a report showing that the government’s proposals put the primary route out of rough sleeping ‘at risk.’ The government should be increasing the supply of supported housing, while ensuring that these services work effectively for residents.
The government must exempt supported housing from its proposals and consult fully with supported housing providers to identify ways in which all vulnerable people who need supported housing can access it. There is a real job for Parliament, the housing sector and government to work together to settle a good solution for the long-term.