Presentation on theme: "Housing Benefit Reform-Supported Housing Public Consultation July 2011 Peter Meehan LA Benefits Adviser February 2012."— Presentation transcript:
Housing Benefit Reform-Supported Housing Public Consultation July 2011 Peter Meehan LA Benefits Adviser February 2012
Why change? ‘As we move towards the Universal Credit in 2013 we need to consider how supported housing costs can be met and whether they should be based on Local Housing Allowance principles’ Summary, bullet point 4, page 6
Current HB provisions For council sector tenants; full HB normally paid covering contractual rent including management overheads ( but less ineligible services) For HA, registered charity or voluntary organisation where personal care, support or supervision is provided (exempt accommodation) ; generally higher levels of HB are payable under exempt accommodation provisions.
Exempt Accommodation? The claimant must be elderly( ie aged 60 or over), unable to work or have dependant children. Landlord must be registered HA, charity or voluntary organisation Some personal care, support or supervision must be being provided There is no cheaper suitable alternative accommodation available. Distinct HB Subsidy rules and rates Can be referred to the Rent Officer
Additional costs of supported accommodation? Purpose built or specially acquired to meet needs of residents Adaptations for disabled Adaptations to provide suitable facilities for communal living and support ( eg security etc ) More expensive communal quality fixtures and fittings coupled with greater wear and tear and higher maintenance costs Staffing overheads involved in provision of intensive housing management
Reform Objectives? Control levels of rent for HB/UC payments Target those in need Transparent and simpler to understand and administer More certainty and consistency regarding levels of benefit entitlement Flexible Compatible with Universal Credit so that it can be delivered centrally
Two groups Group 1 Conventional Supported Housing Those who commonly need lower levels of personal care and support…such as hostels, refuges, foyers and purpose built sheltered housing Group 2 Specific Supported Housing Those who often need more intensive levels of personal care and support to help them live in the community…which is often provided in housing specifically built, acquired and/or adapted for the individual tenant(s)
Group 1 Conventional Supported Housing A payment based on Local Housing Allowance with an addition that recognises the higher housing costs ( e.g. by allowing an extra room, by increasing the LHA by a percentage or by basing it on a broad average of actual costs provided by the Rent Officer). Included in the Universal Credit and paid to the claimant 4 weeks in arrears.
Group 2 Specific Supported Housing An accommodation element, based on Local Housing Allowance rates, included in the claimants Universal Credit and paid to the individual A separate application for a payment from a new Supported Housing Fund, provided to and administered by the local authority, to meet the additional housing costs.
Group 2 Specific Supported Housing Fund Expenditure ‘constraints’ Overall policy responsibility remains with DWP ‘Fixed’ funding controlled by ‘limits’ on individual payment levels or by rent officer assessment Initial estimate based allocation with year end adjustment for actual expenditure Paid direct to the landlord
Group 2 An Alternative (Wider) Approach An accommodation element, based on Local Housing Allowance, included in the Universal Credit and paid to the claimant. An additional allocation determined as part of a more holistic approach to the needs of the claimant, administered in the same way as Personal Budgets ( ie paid to the claimant along with other special need payments so that they can decide where and how it should be spent)
Other proposals Registered providers treated in the same way as registered social landlords ( ie HB based on contractual rent less ineligible service charges) with option to refer to the Rent Officer but what about Universal Credit Review of service charges for HB with a more specific approach focussing on what is eligible as opposed to what is ineligible.
Issues/Risks Direct payment of UC to claimants=rent arrears and increased collection overheads Council Tax liability in HMOs? Cash limited budget vs demand led expenditure? Ring fenced or not and comparisons with Supporting People experience Shared Accommodation restrictions and under-occupation reductions Role of the Rent Officer Migration timetable for new and existing claims etc,etc,etc,etc,etc,etc,etc