STILL WATERS HOUSE
'SOMEWHERE TO CALL HOME'
SUPPORTED ACCOMMODATION - WHAT IS IT AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Supported Accommodation is a specific form of provision within the housing sector. In recent times there has been a huge increase of Supported Accommodation provision, especially within big cities such as Birmingham.
The term Supported Accommodation has a technical definition where the landlord is deemed to be giving support beyond that of a usual tenancy agreement. This requires the landlord to provide services above and beyond that usually required for a successful tenancy by offering care, support, or supervision to enable daily living.
By its nature, and at its best, Supported Accommodation is an important part of the housing sector. For people with complicated needs and who face significant obstacles to securing and sustaining an independent home Supported Accommodation offers an avenue whereby the necessary skills and confidence can be built.
There are many different models of Supported Accommodation provision, each shaped to meet the many different causes of housing vulnerability.
In the majority of circumstances residents will remain in Supported Accommodation for a reasonably short period of time, with the intent to move into permanent secure accommodation at an appropriate time as they build confidence and ability.
THE SAD TRUTH -
ALL IS NOT AS IT SHOULD BE!
Research over recent years however has revealed a number of areas for abuse within the Supported Accommodation system.
Supported Accommodation is, at best, a very loose definition and it is hard to pin down exactly what this means. It is for the most part unregulated and the requirements to prove support delivered are minimal.
Attached to this there is a potential for landlords to obtain Housing Benefit payments which far exceed the national standard which makes it a very attractive option.
Sadly a significant number of landlords have seen Supported Accommodation as an easy road to making substantial financial gain.
The nature of the people they will house means they are often very vulnerable. Exacerbating this vulnerability can be the nature of the licenses used in the place of tenancy agreements. These licenses can significantly decrease the rights to which a more normal renter might be entitled.
Residents often feel unable to challenge their landlord about the condition of the property they live in, or the support (or lack of it) they receive, for fear of being forced back into destitution. This can mean - and research reveals the truth of it - that some landlords fail to maintain safe living standards for their residents. Sadly this is known to be a significant problem in Birmingham.