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Government reverts on plans to move supported housing funding to local authorities

The Government has backed down on its plan to separate the welfare system from supported housing funding for individuals with mental illness.

In a new consultation response, it said it has listened to concerns from individuals and stakeholders and will no longer consider moving funding to council grants.

Under the current system, rent for supported housing is paid through housing benefit which gives the recipient the same rights as a tenant.

However, the Government revealed that they were planning to change this so that people in short-term supporting housing (defined as a period less than two years) would no longer be entitled to housing benefit to pay their rent.

Mind, the mental health charity, says this would have caused considerable stress for tenants and vastly reduced their rights.

It also argued that imposing a strict two-year limit on stays in short-term supported housing could affect recovery. The best route, it says, is for staff and tenants to decide together when a tenant is ready to move out.

Likewise, moving funding into local authority grants would have made funding less certain, less flexible and less responsive to need, said Mind.

Ellie White, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer at Mind, said: “We’re hugely relieved by today’s announcement that funding for supported housing will remain in housing benefit. This is very good news for the many people with mental health problems who need to live in this type of accommodation because they’re too unwell to live entirely independently.

“We’re pleased the Government has listened to our concerns and decided against their ill-advised proposed plans to move supported housing funding to local authorities. We will be keeping an eye on the promised ‘robust oversight regime’, particularly as more people with mental health problems are moved on to Universal Credit.”

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