**40% of supported housing schemes at risk of closure and 80% future developments stopped**
A coalition of disability charities has signed an open letter calling on the Government to end the growing uncertainty around future funding for the supported housing sector, which is a lifeline for disabled people who want to live independently and access their community.
Since last year’s Autumn statement, when the Government announced that they intend to cap Housing Benefit rates for the social housing sector at the same level as the Local Housing Allowance from 2018 onwards, supported housing providers have been forced to put on hold future developments that offer disabled people the safety and security of a home to live in.
The Government has continually delayed any further announcement, meaning the future of supported housing has been put into question. If the LHA cap were to go ahead:
- 40% of existing supported accommodation schemes at risk of closure, meaning disabled tenants at risk of losing their home.
- 80% of planned supported housing projects being built*
Jan Tregelles, chief executive of the learning disability charity Mencap and who signed the letter, said:
“Supported housing is a lifeline for disabled people who want to live independently, feel part of their community and have control over where they call home. It is the foundation for a more independent life for many people with a learning disability, and supports the move away from housing people in inappropriate accommodation, such as Assessment and Treatment Units, where people may be at an increased risk of abuse and neglect.
“The pressure on supported housing is already immense, with at least 900 more supported homes required every year for people with a learning disability alone. The recent Government announcement of a cap on Housing Benefit rates for supported housing has created an uncertainty that has forced providers to put on hold plans to buy or build new properties, and which is likely to turn this pressure into a crisis.”
“It is now key that the Government does their part and offers the certainty the sector desperately needs. We urge the Government to provide this by removing the threat of the LHA cap and by creating a sustainable long-term funding structure for supported housing going forward, so people with a learning disability can live independent lives and access their community.”
Raphaela and Glynn Derrick, Roma and Charles DeSilva, Margaret and Alan Summers, Mary and Garry Davies are parents of Cliona, Leanne, Christopher and Hugh who all heave a learning disability and live together in a supported housing property in Ilford said:
“Our children all have a learning disability and need extra support in their day to day lives, but they still have the desire to be independent and enjoy the same opportunities as other young people. One evening we sat together and drew up a ‘wish list’ of what we would need for them to live together as friends, with 24-hour support in order for them to have their own lives independent from their parents. Supported housing offered us this and so much more.
“Since moving into their own home they have grown in confidence, independence, enjoy socialising and are even planning their first holiday together. With the current shortage of housing finding adapted houses for disabled people is even harder, but supported housing gives people this opportunity.
“It has transformed their lives and ours in a way we couldn’t imagine. We’d feel deeply concerned if giving people with a learning disability this opportunity to live independently became even harder.”
There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org