LHA caps & Future Funding update

Friday, 17 June 2016 - 8:06am

A number of our members have been in touch with us regarding developments in the area of LHA caps for supported housing and the Government’s longer-term plans for the future funding of supported housing.

The current situation is that the Government’s Review into the size and costs of supported housing is due to be published in July. We do not have an exact date yet but it is likely to be before the 21st July when Parliament breaks up for the Summer recess.

It is also likely that when the Review is published there will be indicators from the Government as to their next steps with the possibility of a draft proposal on future funding options or, much more likely, some form of consultative process.

It seems logical that they will also announce something on their plans for LHA Caps in supported housing post-April 2017 (when the current exemption ends).   This is because, in reality, resolving the two issues of LHA caps and Future Funding have become inextricably linked.

However, we think it’s safe to say that Government is now fully aware of the potential cataclysmic effects on supported housing of introducing the caps without some remedial action. They have also been thoroughly briefed on the impacts that the current uncertainty is creating around development, service modelling and lease renewals.

For many homelessness organisations, even if the LHA caps were removed there would still be major problems created by the roll-out of Universal Credit and the fact the default model is one monthly payment to the tenant. The current exemption of most supported housing from Universal Credit is not sustainable in the medium-term because of the abolition of Housing Benefit by 2021.

What are we doing?

We’ve been focusing a lot of our attention and time on this issue and continuing an extensive dialogue with our members and other parts of the supported housing world. These are feeding into an in-depth, ongoing dialogue with ministers, officials across Government and other key stakeholders.

What can you do?

Homeless Link is looking for small and medium-sized homelessness agencies which currently claim Housing Benefit to help us with some modelling we are undertaking, looking at a potential new system.

We want to understand the implications of various models for organisations. Naturally, any information you provide as part of this exercise will be completely confidential, unless you specify otherwise.

I’d love to hear from you if you’d like to be involved. Please e-mail me: paul.anderson@homelesslink.org.uk.

Countdown to our July conference

At Under One Roof 2016, our annual conference, we have a debate scheduled on the issue. We expect this could be before the publication of the Review, but in any case we will update you with the very latest information we have on the issue.

This will be followed by an opportunity for agencies to join the discussion and hear from other services as we work together to find solutions.

For more details, take a look at the event programme.