GOVERNMENT MAINTAINS HOUSING BENEFIT FOR ALL SUPPORTED HOUSING
The Government have announced their decision to continue funding supported housing by Housing Benefit.
The new plans from the government reveal that all supported housing – including hostels, refuges and other short-term housing – will be kept outside the Universal Credit System. All supported housing residents will have their housing costs paid through housing benefit – with the government effectively electing to maintain the status quo after two and a half years of consulting on changes.
Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse MP, said, “Protection of the most vulnerable has always been our primary concern, and following our consultation, the case for keeping supported housing in the welfare system became clear.”
Around £4.12bn a year is spent on housing benefit payments for supported housing. This represents roughly 17% of total expenditure on benefits overall, with around 716,000 people believed to be living in supported accommodation in 651,500 properties across Britain.
The initial ‘one size fits all’ system was criticized due to fears it would reduce incentive to invest in supported housing, and would cause uncertainty for many organisations.
Amanda Dubarry, Chief Executive of Caritas Anchor House, said “We are delighted at the government’s decision to keep supported housing like ours funded by housing benefit. I have been one of the many voices in the sector pushing to prevent the move to grant funding, and I’m really pleased that the government have listened to the views of the housing community before finalising any decisions.
“By maintaining the current system, we will have the stability we need to grow as a sector. We can begin planning ahead to expand and improve our services, which are very much in demand in this current climate.”
Further reviews shall be made into how these two systems with work together for people claiming both housing benefit and other kinds of benefits which will be moving over the Universal Credit.