Let’s work together to understand the challenges facing supported housing

Andy Carberry, 05 September 2022

The challenges facing people who live in our short-term homeless supported housing services have arguably never been greater. Rising inflation, spiralling cost-of-living, public sector funding reductions, and a shortage of affordable and secure housing options have compounded their circumstances at a time of crisis in their own lives.

Regenda Homes and a small group of housing and support providers have begun to explore the impact of this ‘perfect storm’ through an informal benchmarking project.

We found that rent and service charge arrears for those in short-term supported housing have been increasing, to varying degrees, since 2018/19.

We also found that arrears were greater in supported housing for homeless people than they are in other types of supported housing we offer, on average.

Whilst looking at performance collectively in this way was helpful, it only whetted our appetite to understand more about what impact the current national context is having on our services and residents. If we are to respond effectively and ensure our resources will have most impact, then this insight will be pivotal.

Some of the questions the research raised include:

  • To what extent are rent and service charges impacting on debt within short-term supported housing? How do we respond when anticipated funding for these services is cut despite growing demand?
  • How will further rises in energy costs, uncertainty over rents and service charges, and issues of affordability impact services and residents?
  • In the absence of secure longer-term housing options, are people getting stuck in short-term housing (which is only affordable through access to welfare benefits)?

There are other questions we need to explore too, and to get robust answers, we need as many providers to take part in benchmarking as possible.

With that in mind, we are keen to open this up to as many NHF members as are interested in taking part. By working together, we can provide greater insight and solutions for the decision-makers in our organisations and the places we serve.

If you want to take part or find out more, please contact either Bekah Ryder, Research Lead, NHF or Andy Carberry at Regenda Homes.