Supported Housing – Has it any future?
Supported housing is facing a potential crisis. Reductions in support funding over recent years combined with increasing difficulties in finding move-on accommodation were already making their job more difficult. Recent government decisions however suggest that things are going to get a whole lot worse.
Many schemes operate from properties owned by Registered Providers (Housing Associations). This provided the potential to help fund the projects through higher than private market rents. However this was thrown into doubt by a reversal in government policy last year, which required Registered Providers to plan for a 1% reduction in rents year on year. As of 27/1/16 the Government announced a year’s delay in applying this cut to supported housing schemes. An even more significant change was introduced as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review in November. Rent levels for new lettings from April 2016 would be restricted to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) levels payable in ordinary private sector accommodation. This will reduce funding even more significantly. The Government is under enormous pressure to amend this proposal but at the moment it is still intending to go ahead.
The need for supported housing schemes is not going to go away. And yet many existing schemes will no longer be financially viable as they currently operate under these circumstances. Not surprisingly many providers are thinking of getting out of the market.
The priority is clearly to try and get the government to reconsider these proposals, but if they do go ahead we think there are a number of options that can be considered before providers abandon their supported housing provision.
We would like to offer a basic cost-effective consultancy package to help supported providers explore these options in a structured and comprehensive way.
This would involve looking at:
- Ways of reducing costs
- Re-considering the service model
- Exploring alternative funding sources
- Investigating the option of “Exempt Accommodation”
These options can be explored for individual schemes or whole portfolios.
The work will be undertaken by skilled and knowledgeable consultants with years of experience in the supported housing sector.
We will as a result produce a comprehensive report identifying the strategic choices the provider has, and providing them with the tools to take these options further.