This section covers the priorities and procedures considered for Supported Housing.

Supported Housing - Introduction

In this Guide the term ‘Supported Housing’ - is used to describe housing which caters for tenants with a need for a more supportive and intensive style of housing management than is found in ‘ordinary’ housing.

The eligibility criteria in Appendix: 1 of Part 5 - define which schemes the Northern Ireland Housing Executive – Development Programme Group (NIHE (DPG)) will consider for Supported Housing funding. One of the criterion specifies that schemes must cater for tenants who require intensive housing management. The following list details supported housing need groups:

  • people with a learning disability;
  • people with mental health related problems;
  • people with a physical disability (including degenerative and debilitating illness);
  • vulnerable women with or without children;
  • people of working age with other special needs;
  • people with drug or alcohol related problems;
  • people leaving penal establishments, referred by the probation service, or at risk of offending;
  • people with AIDS or HIV disease;
  • young people at risk or leaving care;
  • single homeless;
  • people in foyers;
  • elderly – housing with care (CAT3);
  • travellers

The above list is not meant to be exhaustive - or imply that people who fit a particular category necessarily require supported housing and the associated housing management services. For example, people with a physical disability will often not require additional housing management if provided with appropriately designed accommodation.

Due to a reluctance to label tenants who have complex needs - some schemes may have an identified client group of single homeless people. If such schemes meet the Supported Housing Eligibility Criteria and house tenants who require intensive and supportive housing management they will qualify for Supported Housing funding.

A ‘scheme’ for Supported Housing funding purposes - is one or more units of accommodation which may range from purpose built accommodation to dispersed units within general needs stock. Supported Housing may be provided in self-contained or shared accommodation as determined by the needs and preferences of the client group. Shared housing, like any other scheme, will be required to meet the Eligibility Criteria in order to receive capital funding through Supported Housing procedures or revenue support through Supporting People.

Many supported housing schemes - will also cater for the care needs of tenants. While capital funding is available from the NIHE (DPG) to meet the ‘housing’ costs of supported housing, the funding of the provision of “care” to tenants, for example the capital cost of day-centres or the revenue costs which relate to their personal care (the provision of assistance with physical or social needs, with counselling or with rehabilitation) should be met as part of the charge to the tenant or from another source such as Health and Social Services.

Funding Priorities

The NIHE (DPG) wishes to invest in housing - which, whilst catering for the particular needs of tenants, is as ‘ordinary’ as possible. It will invest in schemes which provide tenants with housing in a domestic setting and which merge unobtrusively into the surrounding community. As with general needs housing, supported housing schemes will benefit from consultation with the client group on design matters. Decisions to provide shared rather than self-contained housing must always be taken in the context of knowledge of the type of housing the client group need and prefer. Associations should also bear in mind that self-contained accommodation can have the advantage over shared housing of greater long-term flexibility of use.

The NIHE (DPG) will invest in housing - which provides a permanent home for tenants, or equips them with the life skills and confidence to move into permanent accommodation. Where schemes do not provide tenants with a permanent home the Association must ensure that tenants receive the necessary help and advice to enable them to move to more independent and appropriate housing, and must have a strategy to enable suitable move-on accommodation to be found. The following are schemes which would not be funded by the NIHE (DPG):

  • respite homes which offer accommodation on a short-term basis for people with a permanent home elsewhere. (Where specific respite accommodation is funded from a source other than HAG, the Department has no objection to this being incorporated within an otherwise HAG-funded scheme. In addition the Department would have no objection to occasional ‘respite’ lettings in HAG funded supported housing accommodation where this is used to reduce the void losses caused by normal turnover).
    People who leave their home to escape harassment or violence will not be regarded as having a permanent home elsewhere;The Association must clearly demonstrate that any “occasional respite” lettings in excess of 6 weeks were in response to a critical situation and did not exceed a 12 week period.]
  • schemes offering shelter only without the establishment of a landlord and tenant relationship, e.g. nightshelters;
  • time limited accommodation which requires tenants to leave without preparation for, and the arrangement of, alternative, appropriate accommodation.

Capital Funding Procedures

The capital funding procedures - are contained in Part 2 of the Housing Association Guide. It is essential that this part of the Guide is read in conjunction with Part 2.

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