Short-term supported housing plays a vital role in providing accommodation to thousands of vulnerable people experiencing mental ill-health, enabling lives to be led independently.
In April, the government issued its response to two consultations on funding for supported housing, in which it proposed to remove short-term supported housing from the welfare system and instead give councils control over financing through a central ringfenced grant.
I join charities and housing providers who have strongly objected to these proposals. I am concerned that the proposed funding model does not provide the certainty that services need and fear that the ringfence could be eroded and money will be used to plug funding gaps in wider council services.
Mental health charities have warned that new funding levels will make mental health supported housing more insecure and result in fewer new supported housing services and more scale-backs or closures of these services. Indeed, a report by Rethink Mental Illness highlights the concerns of frontline staff and managers, with 84 per cent of staff stating the proposed reforms would threaten their service.
Short-term stays in mental health supported housing are vital in helping tenants transition to living independently. The government should adopt a system which safeguards the long-term future of supported housing and builds on the recommendations of the Joint Report of the Communities and Local Government and Work and Pensions Select Committees.
The government is expected to issue a formal response with more details on its short-term supported housing proposals shortly. I will continue to press the government to develop a fit-for-purpose model that represents the reality of supported housing.