Call us today on 01942 610 848

Find us on: Twitter LinkedIn
 
A supplier of extra care housing solutions through Registered Social Landlords

Clarify funding policy or risk development slump

11 December 2015

The Director of Houses for Homes has called on the Government to clarify its position regarding the funding of supported accommodation.

In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced a restriction of rents charged by Registered Social Landlords – capped at the local housing allowance levels. Although the change will not come into force until April 2018, the prospect has sent ripples of uncertainty through the social and extra care housing sector.

“The fact that supported housing is exempt from restrictions means social landlords are able to provide suitable accommodation to a vulnerable group of people; an area where demand continues to rise at an alarming rate,” says Phil Shanks, Director of Houses for Homes. The company develops and provides funded housing to people with special and extra care needs through Registered Social Landlords.

Phil has now written to the Treasury – asking for clarification regarding supported housing rents. “This sector needs certainty to continue its investment into much needed housing stock, and while we wait for clarification, chances of projects being cancelled increases dramatically.”

Currently, supported housing is dealt with under the housing benefit regulations 1987 (as amended) but rent is soon to be managed through the Universal Credit system. “The current system makes sense,” says Phil. “By keeping the status quo where supported housing is exempt from local authority rent caps, the Government is enabling developers and social landlords to continue with plans for new schemes that will benefit a huge number of vulnerable people.”

Houses for Homes and other large operators in the market have pointed out the additional development and running costs for supported and extra care housing, compared with mainstream projects. “It simply isn’t possible to contain the running costs of such specialist accommodation within standard local authority levels,” says Phil.

Vague discussions regarding a possible extension of the discretionary housing allowance has so far failed to reassure Registered Social Landlords – some of which are on the verge of investing millions of pounds in new-build, specialist homes for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Phil says: “Each day the Treasury fails to communicate the Government's intentions when it comes to funding supported housing, the risk of developments being scrapped rises.”

The elderly and people with learning disabilities awaiting rehousing, on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Winterbourne, are particularly vulnerable to delays caused by the recent uncertainty.

Houses for Homes is currently working on a major £112 million roll-out of new stock for the extra care and supported housing sector. Phil says: “I am confident in our plans, and hopeful that the Government will very shortly clarify its policy in this area. This industry needs certainty, and the Government needs these specialist providers to fulfil its responsibility to provide suitable accommodation for vulnerable people. The alternative, as is happening already, is bed blocking in hospitals and people stuck in expensive, temporary accommodation while awaiting rehousing.”

Latest News
Dec
11
Clarify funding policy or risk development slump
11 December 2015 The Director of Houses for Homes has called on the Government to clarify its position regarding the funding of supported accommodation. In his Autumn Statem...