Housing associations call on DWP to answer 'big questions' on supported housing
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government
Landlords call on DWP to answer 'big questions' on supported housing
The National Housing Federation (NHF) is calling on the Government to answer the “big questions” on the future of housing benefit for supported housing following the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) announcement that additional housing costs for ‘exempt accommodation’, will be managed outside Universal Credit when it's introduced next year.
The DWP has clarified that in the short-term, there will be an interim system that is broadly similar to current arrangements and people in supported and specialist accommodation with higher housing costs will continue to be eligible for housing benefit from their local authority.
However, in the medium term, the DWP will design, develop – and potentially pilot – a more localised system of managing the costs outside Universal Credit.
The NHF says it’s "helpful" the Government has recognised that a simplified national system will not give the flexibility needed to respond to the real costs of rent and services of individual projects.
However, it says big questions still remain about both the initial interim system for the coming years and the longer term more localised system.
It's now 12 months since the Government consultation on possible future models for housing benefit for supported housing closed.
Jake Eliot, policy leader, care and support at the NHF, said: “The Government has given social housing providers a clear direction how housing benefit and support housing will work in the future. This is crucial as many supported housing projects are at risk. The benefit of a more localised system is that it could be tailored to meet the requirements of individual projects.
“But there still is no detailed policy and a lot to discuss and agree. Above all, the Government needs to ensure that vulnerable people in supported and specialist housing won’t be affected by the bedroom tax and the overall benefit cap in the short and long term, and that people needing different levels of support won’t lose out under a future system based on local discretion rather than entitlement to getting legitimate additional costs met.”
The DWP said it will clarify the detail soon.