Schemes to develop sheltered housing accommodation have been postponed due to cuts to housing benefit introduced by the Government. Sheltered housing is provided to elderly or disabled individuals with the use of some shared facilities and a warden.
The National Housing Federation has found that almost 2500 units have been postponed or cancelled as a result of the cuts to housing benefit. Sheltered Housing providers have had to deal with an average loss of £300 per month per tenant which makes the provision untenable.
In the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement it was announced that social housing benefit would be brought in line with the amounts paid to the private sector. This forms part of the commitment to reducing governmental savings and is anticipated to generate savings of £225m by 2020-21. This move fails to take into account the additional costs involved when providing social housing and essentially results in providers running an operation in deficit.
In response to the National Housing Federation’s findings the Government has stated: –
“We’ve always been clear that we value the work the supported accommodation sector does to protect the most vulnerable members of society. That’s why we are carrying out a thorough review, working with the sector, to ensure that it works in the best way possible – which is what the NHF has asked for. We are also providing councils with £870m of Discretionary Housing Payments which can be paid to people in supported accommodation.”
The cut in benefit does not take place until April 2018 but will affect those signing new tenancies from April this year.