The Government has set out clear expectations on supported housing standards. The new measures set out to ensure that vulnerable people have safe, good quality homes. £3 million has been pledged towards testing approaches for high-quality support and accommodation. 

Today, new funding for supported housing pilots in priority areas has been announced. The Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Kelly Tolhurst, imposes the plans to improve standards and quality in supported housing.

The Government published a new National Statement of Expectations (NSE), which defines the expectations of guidelines, high-quality and good value for money in supported housing and explains how this can be realized by bringing best practice across the sector together. 

What Is The National Statement Of Expectations?

The National Statement of Expectations (NSE) is created in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing, Communities, Local Governments and the Department for Work and Pensions. Local councils and the supported housing sector also provide input.

The Government first announced its intention to improve oversight of supported housing in 2018, hoping to ensure good quality and value for money. The NSE acts as a first step towards establishing its endeavours for high standards, quality and value in supported housing.

The NSE defines only the accommodation component of supported housing but encourages organisations to pursue high standards in accompanying support services for the residents.

What Will New Funding And Guidance Do?

£3 million will be put towards funding pilots in 5 key areas – Birmingham, Hull, Blackpool, Bristol and Blackburn. This is aimed at improving quality, enforcement, oversight and value for money in supported housing, with a focus on short-term supported housing. The pilots will be carried out until the end of March 2021.

Kelly Tolhurst, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, says: “Providing good quality homes to people who have been homeless, or who are unable to live independently, is fundamental to our support for vulnerable people… My statement today sends a strong message to providers that don’t meet our benchmark that they need to shape up. The pilots we are funding will explore different approaches to supported housing, to further raise the quality of service across the country.”

The housing pilots will collaborate with local partners to carefully test different approaches for the benefit of the sector to uncover how higher standards could be enforced all round. The pilots are intended to significantly improve the quality of non-commissioned provision in the high-priority areas.

Baroness Stedman-Scott, Lords Minister for the Department for Work and Pensions, explains how vital this funding will be. “Supported housing has the power to change the lives of the most vulnerable people in our communities for the better. Backed by £3 million, we will work with experienced partners to make sure that, across the board, this vital support is up to scratch.”

What Is Supported Housing?

Supported housing provides acommodation for some of the most vulnerable people in the UK. In supported housing, care, support and supervision are available as necessary to help people live as independently as possible within the community. The majority is catering towards older residents but also has an essential role in supporting people from other vulnerable groups.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Government has worked closely with the housing sector and local councils to provide safe accommodation and support for vulnerable people. In September, the Government had supported over 29,000 people, providing 10,000 emergency accommodation and nearly 19,000 other support.

Who Does Supported Housing Help?

According to the Government’s press release, those who might live in supported housing include:

  • older people with support needs
  • people with a learning disability
  • people with a physical disability
  • autistic people with a support need
  • individuals and families at risk of or who have experienced homelessness
  • people recovering from drug or alcohol dependence
  • people with experience of the criminal justice system
  • young people with a support need (such as care leavers or teenage parents)
  • people with mental ill-health
  • people fleeing domestic abuse and their children