£2.3 million to extend pilots to improve supported housing for vulnerable people

The Government has extended four pilots to improve the standard and quality of supported housing in England.

22/03/21

£2.3 million to extend pilots to improve supported housing for vulnerable people

Four pilots to improve the standard and quality of supported housing in England have been extended, backed by an additional £2.3 million, Minister for Housing Eddie Hughes has announced.

The pilots - in Birmingham, Hull, Blackpool, Bristol and Blackburn – were launched in October to test innovative approaches to drive up standards and ensure vulnerable people receive the tailored support they need – with findings to inform future national policy.

The pilots have been extended for another six months so that councils can build on their work so far, improving support for residents and value for money, the Government confirmed.

The Government says the pilots will also strengthen enforcement in the sector, such as accommodation inspections, to crack down on the small number of landlords who provide poor-quality homes and inadequate support to the vulnerable people living there.

The pilots aim to provide vulnerable people who used short-term supported accommodation – such as those with experience of homelessness, mental health issues, or domestic abuse – with the skills to enter longer-term, independent accommodation.

The pilots have already led to the development of practice innovations which the Government hopes to be able to implement on a wider scale. One example of such practice is Birmingham City Council working with West Midlands Police to tackle criminal exploitation of vulnerable people in supported housing by organised crime groups, by sharing information with local neighbourhood policing teams.

In Blackpool, the council is carrying out a review of its supported housing for domestic abuse victims and their children to ensure residents are receiving appropriate tailored support, while Blackburn City Council are working with networks of other local councils across the North West to share and develop best practice in driving up standards.

Over the next six months the four councils will gather more data and evaluate their work so that the Government can fully assess the impact of the pilots and introduce national changes.

“We are determined to take action to drive up standards across the sector and by extending the pilots in Birmingham, Hull, Blackpool and Blackburn we can continue test innovative new approaches,” Eddie Hughes MP, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing said.

“From this, we will develop long-term nation-wide solutions, and ensure vulnerable people get high quality accommodation and the support they need.”

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, welcomed the news saying they were an “important step” towards promoting high standards in supported housing.

“Supported housing plays a vital role in our society, ensuring that thousands of people have the home and support they need to live independent and healthy lives.

“We must continue to invest in it and develop it, including building more supported housing to help more people access these desperately needed services.”

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