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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Supported housing and housing related support

Last updated Date:11/04/2013

Supported housing and housing related support

Latest news

CIH position statement on funding for housing related support

Housing support services are experiencing rising demand at the same time as funding is severely constrained or reduced. Read CIH's position statement on how the industry will be affected and how to manage the changes.

CIH Member briefing

Universal Credit and supported housing - update

DWP consulted on the application of Universal Credit for supported housing in July 2011; specifically this was concerned with how housing support costs would be administered, acknowledging that supported housing incurs higher costs than other forms of housing. CIH responded to this consultation.

At the DWP select committee on 17th September, Ian Duncan Smith and Lord Freud answered questions on the application of universal credit to supported housing. Read their  uncorrected evidence.

In summary:

  • Exempt supported housing (as currently defined by housing benefit legislation) will not receive support for housing costs via Universal Credit at April 2013
  • The housing element will be paid largely as it is currently through local authorities
  • In the longer term, DWP will work with the sector to develop a system of support drawing on and administered through local knowledge.

This is in direct response to concerns from representatives in the sector about the application of Universal Credit for this form of housing.

CIH is involved in ongoing discussions with DWP about Universal Credit, and the specific application for supported housing.

We are clear that localised payments must retain:

The entitlement for individuals to support for housing costs, not a move to a discretionary system

Meeting the higher costs appropriate for this form of housing.

For more information on CIH’s work in this area contact:Sam Lister or Sarah Davis

For more information on CIH’s programme of work on Housing Benefit and Universal credit visit our welfare reform page. 


Supported housing and housing related support provide services that bring considerable benefits to individuals at times of crisis, or if they need ongoing support. A critical element is the preventative nature of services, preventing the escalation of problems such as hospital admissions or repeat experiences of homelessness. This also results in significant savings to other public services, such as hospitals, health, social care and community safety.

National research published in 2009 demonstrated financial benefits for the public purse of £3.41bn in return for investment of £1.61bn. Particular benefits were experienced by some groups, such as older people, women at risk of domestic violence and those with chaotic lifestyles.

Funding for services has contracted significantly at the local level in some areas. Whilst central government maintained funding, albeit without any inflationary uplift (i.e a real term decrease of 12%), rolling the funding into local authority formula grant - which was cut by 26% over the funding period 2011-2015 – has resulted in reductions to services between 0% to 50%+ locally.

Apart from the financial challenges, services have to be flexible to respond to the continued drive for personalisation and direct payments. In addition, Government is exploring the application of payment by results to housing related support services, with pilots running across the country.

Our view

Supported housing and related support services provide a significant contribution to the wider agenda of inclusive and sustainable communities, including supporting people into training, education and employment. The Supporting People programme between 2003-2011 was very successful in developing a culture of continuous improvement, increasing the quality and effectiveness of services. This, together with the cost benefit research, meant that services have become better understood in some local areas and investment has been maintained or cuts minimised.

However, this is not the case across the country, and there is still a need to collate evidence locally and develop case studies to demonstrate the wider benefits that housing related support services bring to the community and to the savings and efficiencies required in other public service areas (to encourage an ‘invest to save’ approach).

Increasingly the ability to maintain investment in these services is likely to depend upon:

• A greater understanding of the value of the services, and championing of these, by locally elected members

• The ability to demonstrate the value for other public services – for example how it can contribute to the outcomes frameworks for health, public health and social care.

The CIH/LGG report of December 2010 aimed to support local authorities, make strategic decisions on service change and investment in the light of the (then anticipated) reductions to funding: Supporting People: supporting service change in a time of pressure. This is now being reviewed to provide evidence of how these approaches worked and other examples of service remodelling. The new report will be published summer 2012.

For more information on CIH’s work linked to health and social care see our Health and care page

Get involved

Let us know your experiences of remodelling, changing or decommissioning services and how this has worked and lessons learned for our refresh of the 2010 report.
CIH contact Sarah Davis

Helpful links

CIH response to the retirement housing code March 2013

The role of housing in drugs recovery September 2012

CIH briefing paper on social care white paper July 2012

CIH response to Sitra consultation on supporting people data July 2011

CIH supporting people summit notes April 2011

CIH supporting people summit presentation from Domini Gunn-Peim April 2011

CIH supporting people presentation from Sarah Davis April 2011

CIH response to CLG supporting people inquiry May 2009



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