The government plans to boost the supply of supported housing in England with an extra £300m investment, which was unveiled as part of long-awaited social care reforms.
In the 104-page Social Care White Paper published yesterday, ministers set out wide-ranging proposals to tackle the adult social care crisis over the next 10 years.
Among the plans is a promise to invest “at least” £300m between 2022 and 2026 to increase the stock of supported housing which caters for older people and adults with learning and physical disabilities or long-term mental illnesses.
It comes as projected demand for supported housing in England is estimated to increase by 125,000 by 2030.
“The fact is we do not have enough supported housing to keep pace with demand, and we are not building enough to close that gap,” the white paper said.
It said the £300m investment will allow local authorities to boost the supply of specialist supported housing, which “in turn will drive increased confidence in the social supported housing market, stimulating a positive cycle of further innovation and private investment”.
The Department of Health and Social Care, which published the paper, said an “important priority” is to grow investment in both grant-funded and private supported housing to incentivise their supply.
In addition, the government said it will continue to invest £70m in capital funding every year up to 2025 into the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund.
It said this will “incentivise the supply of specialised housing for older people and people with a physical disability, learning disability, autism or mental ill health”.
The specialised supported housing sector has been under the spotlight for the past few years as a number of lease-based providers operating the tenure have been ruled non-compliant by the English regulator.
In 2019, the Regulator of Social Housing said it was “hard to see” how housing associations that operate equity-linked business models can comply with its standards.
Catherine Ryder, director of policy and research at the National Housing Federation, said the extra money was a “positive starting point in ensuring that some of the most vulnerable people have the support, access and care they need at home”.
She added: “Housing associations provide nearly 75% of all supported housing and are ready to work with the government to provide these much-needed new homes and services. We look forward to considering these proposals in more detail over the coming days.”