August 23, 2022
Supported Exempt Accommodation and Possible Housing Benefit Changes
The Housing Support Enabling Unit is looking to hear from providers of supported housing to collect case studies of good quality supported exempt accommodation and to gather information about the number of supported services across Scotland.
In March 2022, Eddie Hughes, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Rough Sleeping and Housing issued a statement about supported housing, suggesting that changes to housing benefit regulations were likely to come to ‘improve quality and value for money across all specified supported housing provision’. Read more here.
Supported Exempt Accommodation is a definition used in HB regulations that refers to accommodation provided by a registered or unregistered housing association, a registered charity, or non-profit who provide care, support, or supervision to a tenant. Organisations can charge higher rents for this type of accommodation than for other housing benefit claims because of the support that is provided.
Beginning in October 2020, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) provided £5.4 million to the local authorities of Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bristol, and Hull to run pilots to improve local authority oversight of local supported housing. The pilots have led to increased scrutiny of supported accommodation and housing benefit claims, with 1,285 claims being denied where the definition of specified accommodation was not being met. Since the pilots, it has emerged that supported exempt accommodation housing benefit rules have been taken advantage of to fund poor quality accommodation in England with non-adequate support. Similar pilots have not taken place in Scotland where supported housing is regulated by the Care Inspectorate. In July 2022, DLUHC announced a £20M improvement fund to help local authorities in England tackle poor quality supported housing.
The HSEU feels that it is important that in the context of possible changes to housing benefit, the DLUHC is presented with examples of good quality supported housing in Scotland and the positive outcomes it can have. The HSEU is also interested in gathering information on the number of supported housing services provided. Therefore, the HSEU has distributed a survey for providers of housing support to complete about the supported services provided by their organisation. If you have not received the survey or would like to be involved in creating case studies of supported exempt accommodation in Scotland, please get in contact with HSEU at firstname.lastname@example.org. The survey will be open until the 21st of September.