1. Supported housing provides a vital bridge between housing, support, health and care. It helps people to live fulfilled and independent lives, engaged with local communities and with positive outcomes. It reduces cost pressures on public services by keeping people out of more costly health and care settings and providing the necessary support to address issues that might otherwise prevent independent living.
2. The LGA and ADASS welcomes the Government’s decision not to apply the Local Housing Allowance Rate to supported housing or wider social housing. The consultation is an opportunity to strengthen local commissioning and deliver a sustainable funding solution that maintains and grows supply in accordance with local need.
3. The Government should ensure sufficient funding is provided through the proposed ring-fence grant for short-term supported housing now and in the long-term and agree to five-year grant settlements in order to give providers the certainty they need to continue investing in supported housing for people in vulnerable circumstances.
4. Councils need to be funded as soon as possible through the New Burdens process to evaluate need, develop strategic plans for supported housing in unitary and two-tier areas, and set up the ongoing systems needed to implement the proposed changes to short-term accommodation.
5. We encourage Government to work with providers and commissioners in setting sheltered rent levels that secure better cost control but adequately fund all of the housing costs, including the higher costs for extra care housing.
6. The proposed start date of April 2020 is very ambitious, particularly for short-term accommodation. There should be a two-year transition period with shadow allocations that will test the new funding model. Sufficient time should be allowed to properly involve councils (noting that the local government landscape in England is not consistent) in developing the detail, test the new approaches in different places and get ready for implementation. We acknowledge the considerable concern amongst our partners about the potential impact of the short-term accommodation grant on funding refuge provision and will continue to engage with domestic abuse charities and other partners.
7. We look forward to LGA and ADASS being fully involved in the future work mentioned in the consultation document on strengthening the quality, value for money and cost control for long-term supported housing.
8. The future of supported housing funding should have regard to the wider context facing councils. In particular, the overall funding challenge facing councils, especially adult social care which funds the support element of supported housing, the availability of follow-on housing and welfare reform.
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