Supported housing round-up

Monday, 5 March 2018 - 4:03pm

The past couple of years in supported housing policy have been dominated by one issue: funding. 

people in supported housing accommodation
Photography by Ian Cuthbert

After two rounds of consultation, a select committee inquiry, parliamentary debates and lots of discussion across the sector, we are now waiting to hear the outcome of the latest consultation ahead of the proposed implementation of a new funding system from 2020.

However, we know that many of our members face other challenges in addition to funding, challenges that have an impact on them and the people they support. It is important these don’t get overshadowed by the focus on funding. Homeless Link has been working to keep these issues on the agenda over the past year through our policy work. By feeding the views of our members into national policy discussions and our membership of a number of different stakeholder groups, we can ensure the invaluable contribution supported housing makes to national and local priorities is well understood.

Housing, health and care

One of our key areas of focus is strengthening the links between housing, health and care. We are members of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) Housing Policy Network, which brings together key stakeholders from across the housing and social services sector. We are signatories to the joint memorandum of understanding between health and housing, supported by a number of government departments and arms-length bodies, due to be relaunched later this month. We have shaped national guidelines on experiences of adult social care, securing a recommendation that information about local care and support should be as widely available as possible, including in specialist services such as homeless health services. This is important to ensure that everyone who could benefit from care and support services can access information about them.

Dementia and Housing Working Group

Homeless Link currently chairs the Dementia and Housing Working Group, which brings together housing associations, professional and trade bodies, academics, representatives from relevant government departments and voluntary sector agencies. The aim of the group is to promote the contribution of the housing sector to improving the health and wellbeing and quality of life for people living with dementia. A report on the role of the housing sector was published on behalf of the group last year, and we also ran a session at the national Dementia Congress in November.

Barriers to accessing accommodation

We are also working with partners outside the health and social care sector. We sit on a special interest group on accommodation convened by the Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group (RR3). The aim of the group is to explore the barriers to accessing accommodation for people in contact with the criminal justice system and make recommendations to the Ministry of Justice on how to address these. Our membership of this group follows on from the briefing we produced on this issue with our MEAM partner Clinks last year. We are members of the National Housing and Domestic Abuse Policy and Practice group. We will also continue to work with members to raise concerns about the ongoing impact of welfare reform and the implementation of Universal Credit.

We know this is just a snapshot of issues that may be affecting our members. If there is anything you would like to raise with the policy team, then please contact us on paula.reid@homelesslink.org.uk. You can also join our policy network and help us assess the impact of policies and provide the strongest possible evidence for the changes we want to see.