Housing federation demands more clarity on housing-related support

A clearer definition of housing-related support is needed in the
wake of the review into the Supporting People programme, the head
of care at the National Housing Federation has warned.

Diane Henderson told delegates at the annual extra-care housing
conference last week that Supporting People providers and
commissioners should collaborate with the Office of the Deputy
Prime Minister (ODPM) to produce a written definition of
housing-related support.

Last month, an independent review into the Supporting People
programme concluded that its £1.8bn bill last year was “too
much to pay” to cover housing-related support services for
vulnerable people that used to be funded through other grants and

Henderson said the ODPM was angered by what it saw as health and
social care support services being funded by the Supporting People
budget. The review said there was “strong circumstantial evidence”
that councils had dipped into the programme’s budget to fund
services it used to pay for.

Henderson said: “Supporting People is not an entitlement – it’s not
housing benefit. The housing benefit definition was not well
policed and was too wide. It will not re-appear and I’d be very
surprised if I’m wrong.”

She said a new, written definition was needed “so that we stop
having these silly discussions about what housing-related support
is. The definition is narrowing and the sooner we get it down on
paper to stop it narrowing further the better really”.

Also at the conference, community care minister Stephen Ladyman
announced how this year’s £29m for extra-care housing places
would be spent.

The government received more than 200 applications for a slice of
the cash but only 16 were successful. These schemes will provide
new-build or improved extra-care housing places, which offer older
people and other vulnerable adults their own private home and
24-hour social care and health support.

A further £58m will be available in 2005 in order to deliver
another 1,500 extra-care places by 2006.

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