WE’RE RECRUITING ROLES NOW – FIND OUT MORE

News and Blogs

Housing Sector Crisis: Does Allowing Supported Living Providers to Supply Both Support and Home Set a Dangerous Precedent?

In the current housing landscape, the demand far outstrips the supply, especially for vulnerable members of the community. Local authorities find themselves overwhelmed with requests to accommodate individuals with learning disabilities, autism, and challenging behaviours. Whether due to a young adult wanting to leave the family home, previous placement failures, or transitioning from a hospital setting, these individuals urgently require suitable housing.

The shortage of accessible housing has forced local authorities to explore alternative methods. One such avenue involves supported living providers, who not only offer homes but also provide the necessary support services.

Providing Both Support and Home

Supported living providers with their own housing stock often expedite the transition period, which is crucial for those leaving failed placements or hospital settings. This dual provision facilitates quicker community integration, benefiting the individual, the local authority, and the supported living provider. So what’s the problem?

Filling the Void

Providers with their own properties frequently contend with voids—empty rooms within houses shared by individuals with similar (or dissimilar) disabilities. These spaces might lack personalisation and never truly feel like a home. The critical question arises: What if the individual is dissatisfied with the support while living in a home provided by the same company?

No Separation

When a support provider is responsible for both the support and the home, any issues with one aspect could result in the individual losing both, raising concerns about continuity and stability. Will the individual fear losing their home, and feel unable to speak up about inadequate care? Other concerns could be:

  • Poor practice could be ignored by the purchaser due to the risk of notice being given to both the care and the property, 
  • Inadequately trained providers may win the contract because they have the housing and not because they have the skillsets to provide the correct support and care,
  • The property is often not designed for the person, but is a ‘stock’ property and therefore not bespoke, 
  • Sometimes the mixing of different people with complex needs in a property can create new complexities and risk.

Reach Standards

The adherence to Reach standards, a set of nine voluntary standards established by Paradigm, becomes pivotal in such scenarios. Local authorities, driven by the urgency to secure housing, might inadvertently compromise these standards, potentially jeopardising the individual’s choices and rights.

Exploring Solutions

Housing associations emerge as a potential middle-ground solution. Free from conflicts of interest with support providers, they offer a secure home without the risk of losing it if support is discontinued. However, the challenge lies in determining who signs the lease—local authorities or support providers?

Some support providers find themselves burdened with void agreements, making them financially liable even if the individual moves elsewhere. Housing associations remain a viable option, provided the responsibility for voids doesn’t fall on supported living providers.

Another alternative involves local authorities utilising their housing stock to accommodate society’s most vulnerable.

Conclusion

To uphold national standards, it’s essential that a supported living provider, responsible for providing support, should not directly own the property. Addressing the shortage of quality housing for those with long-term disabilities requires a collaborative, creative effort from all involved in an individual’s care. There’s no quick fix, but urgent attention to housing needs can bring us closer to a solution.

More from our blog

Contact Us to find out more

Make an enquiry and a member of our friendly team can talk you through our Support Living service. 

Learn more about our model

Our Model is made up of six key areas that deliver person-centric, relationship-guided support.