The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has welcomed a joint report by two House of Commons committees which calls on the UK Government to scrap plans to base rent allowances for supported housing tenants on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates.
The LHA cap limits the amount of support that can be given for housing costs to 30% of the market rent in the locality (Broad Market Rental Area).
The federation gave evidence, gathered from members, to the Joint Inquiry by the Communities and Local Government and Work and Pensions Committees into the ‘Future of Supported Housing’ in February 2017.
In its evidence, the SFHA highlighted that Local Housing Allowance, which is based on market rental costs for general needs housing, was an unsatisfactory way to fund these much needed homes, as the system had no regard for the cost of providing the additional services and facilities needed to enable tenants to lead full and independent lives.
The committees’ report makes several important recommendations to the UK Government regarding how to take forward reforms of supported housing funding. The report states:
“We propose the Government introduces a Supported Housing Allowance, banded to reﬂect the diversity of provision in the sector and sufficient to ensure supported housing tenants will only require recourse to top-up funding in exceptional circumstances.”
Sarah Boyack, SFHA Head of Public Affairs, said:
“We warmly welcome this report and its recognition of the huge cost savings that supported housing offers when compared to hospital and institutional care.
“The content and tone of the report reflect the very grave concerns that the SFHA and other witnesses shared during the evidence session.
“The recommendations are both sensible and achievable, and we back the committees’ call on the UK Government to take this opportunity to pause, take heed of the expert evidence and rethink its plans for funding supported housing in the future.”
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4. The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) was established in 1975 and has around 116 members providing affordable housing and wider community services across Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial associates. The SFHA is owned and governed by its members and exists to lead, represent and support the work of housing associations and co-operatives throughout Scotland www.sfha.co.uk
5. The SFHA is the voice of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland. SFHA members own and manage 80% of the 280,000+ housing association stock across Scotland. Together, housing associations and co-operatives provide housing for almost 500,000 people, which is one in every 11 households.
6. Over 11,000 staff are employed by SFHA members across Scotland.
7. Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.