William Eichler 05 December 2018

Supported housing system ‘isn’t working’, charity warns

People living in supported housing are being discouraged from finding work because of fears they will not be able to afford their rent, report reveals.

The charity Mayday Trust has spoken with more than 80 people who are housed in temporary or supported accommodation, as well as those who are sleeping rough and sofa-surfing, to uncover the impact of unaffordable accommodation.

Entitled Wisdom from Behind Closed Doors, the report shows how accommodation becomes unaffordable once someone secures a job.

The interviewees told the Mayday Trust that the high cost of rent meant that they would need to find somewhere else to live or give up their job completely.

The Mayday Trust heard how the lack of affordable accommodation meant that many felt they had no choice but to make their personal situations worse in order to be prioritised for housing. Many respondents said they saw supported housing as a fast-track way of doing this.

‘Overall, people told us that they wanted a home where they could feel safe and secure, where they would receive a warm welcome, where they could just get on with their lives,’ said Pat McArdle, CEO of Mayday Trust.

‘In short, people feel the supported housing system isn’t working and with the growing numbers of people sleeping rough now is the time to act.’

The report is launched today at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) ‘Tackling homelessness and meeting housing need’ conference in Northampton. 

CIH head of policy and external affairs Melanie Rees said: ‘Supported housing provides a lifeline for people who have suffered homelessness and other devastating experiences such as abuse.

‘It’s clear from this report, however, that many residents are not getting the safe, welcoming and supportive environment they need. We need to examine what we can do as a sector to improve the current situation.’  

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