A boost to supported housing needs

Published: February 24th, 2022

7 min read

In December the Government published their Social Care White Paper which sets out the Government's plans to address adult social care issues over the next 10 years. A key component is to plunge "at least" £300m into supported housing between 2022 and 2026, at a time when "we do not have enough supported housing to keep pace with demand and we are not building enough to close the gap" according to the White Paper.

What is Supported Housing?

Supported housing is accommodation provided to adults who require additional support and assistance to live as independently as possible. People who benefit from supported housing are older people, people with learning or physical disabilities, people recovering from substance addition, people fleeing domestic abuse. Supported housing can assist the most vulnerable in society.

Unfortunately, supply has been unable to keep up with demand with the need for housing and services is estimated to increase by 125,000 by the end of the decade.

Whilst house building is on the increase according to government figures, the proportion of those in the social housing sector has fallen for to its lowest level since 2015/2016.

What does the White Paper propose?

The White Paper sets out a 10 year plan which is based around 3 objectives:

  • People have choice, control and support to live independent lives
  • People can access outstanding quality and tailored care and support
  • People can find adult social care fair and accessible

A key component in achieving these objectives is to "support local communities to build the partnerships and plans to embed housing as part of the local care and health system". Among the proposals are:

  • Connecting housing with health and care and driving the stock of new supported housing by investing £300 million over the next 3 years.
  • Funding for a new service to make minor repairs and changes in peoples' homes to help them remain independent and safe.
  • Continued investment for Care and Support Specialised Housing fund with £210 million to be available for the years 2022 - 2023 to 2024 - 2025..
  • Increasing the upper limit for the Disabled Facilities Grant by committing a further £570 million per year (for the years 2022 - 2023 to 2024 - 2025)..

The importance of the focus on housing

The White Paper proposes a number of changes across the board in everything from the payment and supply of carers, carer's leave entitlement for unpaid carers, technology and the availability and ease of understanding of entitlements. However, for the people at the core of this, a home that can provide for their needs is at the top of their wish list.

Housing Associations provide a significant proportion of supported housing and this financial injection will assist them in boosting their supply of housing and services in the community. The Paper stated that this investment "in turn will drive increased confidence in the social supported housing market, stimulating a positive cycle of further innovation and private investment." It is hoped that this will lead to a growth in both grant-funded and private supported housing to continue the growth and availability of supported housing offerings.

The Local Government Association in their response to the White Paper state "The additional funding will help some places to address the shortage of older people's extra care housing, which will improve older people's housing choices and outcomes. Supported housing also help to reduce demand on social care and health services by supporting greater levels of independence in the community, preventing admissions to residential care and hospital and aiding discharges."

Forbes Comment

The need for an overhaul of social care has been felt for years, and it seems the pandemic has brought minds into focus. Supported housing helps people live an independent and dignified life, and the additional funding is a welcomed step forward in creating a social care programme that's fit for purpose.

Forbes is proud to act on behalf of supported housing providers and this announcement of significant funding comes at a crucial time in the country's recovery from the effects of the pandemic.

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