The government should invest further in supported housing to help vulnerable people receive the support they need to stay off the streets, a new report says.
The think tank IPPR North says that a £900 million investment in ‘transitional supported housing’ (TSH) would help give people access to homes and support to avoid homelessness while building the sector’s long-term capacity.
The investment should be devolved to mayoral combined authorities, while mayors should also set out their own approach to supporting people in TSH.
Sarah Longlands, director of IPPR North, said: “All too often, when governments talk about housing, the focus is on home ownership whereas supported housing, particularly for those who are most vulnerable is very much the Cinderella of the debate.
“From people at risk of homelessness, to those fleeing domestic abuse, supported housing for the most vulnerable in our society has been overlooked and rendered invisible for far too long.”
IPPR North’s report says the investment would build on the success of the government’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme, which housed 15,000 rough sleepers during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The think tank says that giving the £900 million straight to frontline charities would house the 9,000 people supported by ‘Everyone In’ who now need access to TSH.
TSH – which supports vulnerable people such as those at risk of homelessness, fleeing domestic abuse, or with addiction or mental health issues – houses 189,500 people across the UK but makes up just 29% of all supported housing.
The report warns that the fragmented nature of TSH’s delivery – currently split between housing associations, charities, councils and the private sector – have led it to be poorly documented and understood with its importance widely overlooked.
A better defined, regulated, and funded TSH sector would not only help vulnerable people sustain stable accommodation but reduce the pressure on affordable and social housing stock, the report concludes.
“Given that the demand for housing amongst the most vulnerable is set to increase as the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 begin to bite, the government have a historic opportunity to commit to a sustainable future for people who need transitional supported housing,” Longlands added.
“The chancellor can and must deliver on what he has proven to be possible through the ‘Everyone In’ scheme, and finally create safe, secure homes for everyone.”
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been approached for comment.