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Supported Housing

Volume 624: debated on Monday 24 April 2017

We are committed to protecting and boosting the supply of supported housing, and since 2011 we have delivered 23,000 new supported homes in England. My hon. Friend will know that we recently consulted on a reformed funding model, and we are now keen to press on with that reform as soon as possible.

I will probe a little further on emergency short-term accommodation, such as women’s refuges. Does the Secretary of State agree that a totally separate funding stream is essential to honouring our ambition that no victim be turned away from accessing critical support services by 2020?

My hon. Friend highlights an important point. We have been working with the sector to develop options to ensure that providers of short-term accommodation continue to receive the appropriate funding. That might be through a different funding mechanism from the one we have today, but it is vital that supported housing receives the protection it deserves, and it will.

The Secretary of State knows that he has let down elderly people in this country. It is not just supported housing or funding but the fact that, in constituencies such as mine, we have a magic wand whereby suddenly student accommodation rises like daisies in the spring. But when it comes to accommodation for elderly people who desperately need it, because we have an ageing population, he has got nowhere in what he has achieved.

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman just missed what I said: since 2011, 23,000 units of specialised and general housing have been delivered for vulnerable people, and we have provided another £400 million for specialist homes throughout the country. That kind of action makes results, and he should welcome it.

In evidence to a joint Select Committee inquiry, David Orr of the National Housing Federation said that the local housing allowance was

“not a competent starting point”

for a funding model. Is the Secretary of State wedded to LHA as a starting point, or is he considering some other option?

We have just had a consultation on supported housing, which is now closed. We received a number of representations and we want to consider them carefully, but whatever the final model is, it will be designed to be sustainable for the long term and provide the supported housing we need.

I look forward to hearing the Government’s response on that, and it would be useful to get a date on that issue. On the different types of supported accommodation being consulted on, does the Secretary of State recognise that placing an arbitrary limit on the length of time somebody is in short-term accommodation could have a detrimental effect on their life chances thereafter if they are forced to leave that supported accommodation too soon? Will he allow flexibility in the system, so that organisations such as Emmaus and Blue Triangle in my constituency can keep people for as long as they need to be there?

As part of the review and the response to the consultation, we are considering exactly the point the hon. Lady raises: the terms of access to short-term accommodation.