Strategic approach on homelessness needed to secure future of supported housing
The Government’s announcement on the funding for supported housing (briefing document attached below) highlights the urgent need for a strategic approach on homelessness, according to Homeless Link. The national membership charity for frontline homelessness agencies believes that while some aspects of the proposals are to be welcomed, others will have a damaging effect on the future of supported housing services, and ultimately, for people who are homeless.
Homeless Link particularly supports:
- The removal of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) Caps from supported and sheltered housing until the future funding regime is introduced. We would, however, have liked to have seen the Government remove the LHA Caps proposal altogether.
- Protection of the full amount of current Housing Benefit expenditure.
- Payment of housing costs at the LHA one-bedroom rate.
- A ring-fence on the top-up funding local authorities can receive.
- Protection for short-term services.
Homeless Link opposes:
- The 1% rent reduction to be applied to supported and sheltered housing from April 2017.
- Individuals in supported housing will no longer have automatic ‘entitlement’ to have their rent met above Local Housing Allowance Levels.
Many aspects of the proposals remain unclear, and a lot more detail is needed.
Homeless Link's Chief Executive, Rick Henderson, comments:
“The Government’s announcement highlights the urgent need for a national cross-Government homelessness strategy with a clear vision for the future of supported housing at its heart.
“We are now effectively facing the frustrating prospect of contradictory policies. The welcome decision to temporarily remove LHA Caps from supported and sheltered housing will be instantly undermined by the 1% rent reduction planned from April 2017 – a hugely disappointing and damaging move. The Government has already suspended the rent reduction once due to the devastating impact it was predicted to have, and the same concerns are still valid today. Its implementation will result in a squeeze on supported housing services, which is likely to risk services closing and lead to an increase in the number of people who find themselves homeless.”
“Homeless Link wants to ensure a secure future where vital homelessness services are sustainable and those who end up homeless can be provided with the critical support to get their lives back on track. We will continue our dialogue with the Government, engaging with our members to feed in their views as part of the consultation, to ensure that the value of supported housing services is recognised and their future is protected.”
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Louise is the communications manager at Homeless Link.
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