“Specified accommodation” made simple

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“Specified accommodation” made simple. Geoffrey Ferres – Sitra Paul Anderson – Homeless Link. “Exempt accommodation”. Introduced in 1996 to protect supported housing from new limits on Housing Benefit for non-local-authority tenants - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Specified accommodation made simpleGeoffrey Ferres SitraPaul Anderson Homeless Link

1Exempt accommodationIntroduced in 1996 to protect supported housing from new limits on Housing Benefit for non-local-authority tenantsReflected the extra rental and housing management costs of supported housing But the nature of much supported housing changed after this, especially with introduction of Supporting People

2Impact of welfare reform Benefit changes introduced after 2010 threatened to impact upon supported housing especially:Universal Credit: monthly assessment and payment; direct payment to clients as defaultBenefit cap Social Housing Size Criteria (Bedroom Tax)Representations were made to the Government as to the problems these could create for supported housing providers

3Governments response 1This is one of the areas where there has been a great deal of concern expressed by various groups about the position of supported accommodation. We are very concerned not to undermine their position, so we will be making sure that for supported accommodation, the structure of getting the payments and support for their costs are not changed.

Lord Freud to the Work and Pensions Select Committee 17th September 2012

4Governments response 2Excluded exempt accommodation from the benefit cap and size criteria changesChanged regulations so Housing Benefit would continue to be paid for claimants living in exempt accommodation who were receiving Universal Credit .

Unfortunately this left much of supported housing uncovered. Further representations were made to Government to this effect

5Governments response 3It has recently been brought to our attention that much of the existing provision does not meet the definition of supported exempt accommodationWe would like to make clear our intention to protect providers from any unintended consequences (of Welfare Reform)officials are working closely with other government departments and key stakeholders to develop workable solutions through a change to the definition or other means, without increased spend. These include local authorities, the National Housing Federation, Homeless Link, Sitra, the Chartered Institute of Housing and the devolved administrations

Lord Freud letter 4th April 2013

6Finding a solutionTook over a year of discussions and looking at various options for achieving goal set by Lord Freud in his letterQuestions in Parliament including from the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee to the Prime MinisterFinally legislative changes laid before Parliament on 20th March 1014 - The Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Supported Accommodation) (Amendment) Regulations 2014http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/771/made

7Benefit cap: HB and UCProtection from cap from different dates:Housing Benefit from 10 AprilUniversal Credit from 28 October

8Four categories of Specified AccommodationExempt accommodationSimilar supported housing but where landlord does not provide the care, support or supervisionDomestic violence refugesLocal authority non-self-contained supported housing (including hostels)

9For first two landlord must be:Housing associationRegistered charityNot-for-profit organisationEnglish upper-tier county councilLandlord cannot be:Housing authorityPrivate, for profit organisation.

For second category claimant must have been placed in the accommodation to meet a need for care, support or supervision.As regulations stand, self-referrals would not be protectedExempt accommodationExempt accommodation covers resettlement places and tenants whose landlord:Is a housing association, an English upper-tier county council, a registered charity or a not-for-profit organisation; andProvides or some person or organisation acting on their behalf provides the tenant with care, support or supervision.10Similar accommodationSecond category covers claimants:Whose landlord is (again) a housing association, an English upper-tier county council, a registered charity or a not-for-profit organisationAdmitted into accommodation to meet a need for care, support or supervisionWho receive care, support or supervision no matter who provides it.

11Housing authority hostelsFourth category covers tenants:Of non-self-contained accommodation (such as hostels) owned or managed by a housing authority whereThey receive care, support or supervision.

12Self-contained?Each unit would have own facilities for:EatingSleepingCookingWashing (person, not laundry!).

13Domestic violence refugesThird category covers claimants:Whose landlord is a housing authority, a housing association, an English upper-tier county council, a registered charity or a not-for-profit organisationWhose accommodation was provided because they have left their home as a result of domestic violenceThe accommodation consists of a building, or part of a building, used wholly or mainly for non-permanent accommodation of persons who have left their homes as a result of domestic violence.

14Domestic violenceAny incident, or pattern of incidents, of controlling behaviour (defined), coercive behaviour (defined) , violence or abuse, including but not limited to:Psychological abusePhysical abuseSexual abuseEmotional abuseFinancial abuseregardless of the gender or sexuality of the victim

15Coercive behaviourAn act of assault, humiliation or intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten the victim

16Controlling behaviourAn act designed to make a person subordinate or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance or escape or regulating their everyday behaviour

17ScenariosBronwenJenny and Alan

18Scenario 1: BronwenBronwen lives in a refuge where the landlord is a local authority but she receives support from a local domestic violence charity.Bronwen has fled her former home with her three young children. She does not intend to go back.She receives Income Support because her youngest child is not yet five years old.The refuge has experienced a shortfall in rent because of the benefit cap.

19Bronwen March 2014Income Support71.70Child BenefitChild 120.30Child 2 & 326.80Child Tax CreditFamily10.50Child 1-3156.66HB-eligible rent246.00Total531.96Benefit cap500.00Housing Benefit214.04

In 2013-14 Bronwen was not entitled to receive Housing Benefit on the full rent that would normally have been eligible because the refuge did not satisfy the exempt accommodation rule housing authority tenants never do20Bronwen April 2014From April 2014 Bronwen can be paid full Housing Benefit and the refuge will suffer no shortfall.This would happen even if Universal Credit were rolled out: Bronwen would claim Housing Benefit and not receive the rent element of Universal Credit.At some date, probably April 2017, Bronwen may be affected by a new system for dealing with rents in supported housing.

21Scenario 2: Alan and JennyAlan and Jenny live in a specially adapted, two-bedroom flat. Alan and Jenny are married. Alan has a disability and Jenny is Alans main carer. His disability means they cannot sleep in the same room, let alone the same bed.Alans landlord is a registered provider and he has a personal budget from social services with which he employs a personal assistant.Since April 2013 Alan and Jenny have been subject to a 14% reduction in their Housing Benefit as the council decided the arrangement does not fit the exempt accommodation or overnight carer provisions.

22Alan and Jenny April 2014Alan and Jenny continue to suffer a 14% Housing Benefit reduction in spite of it now being specified accommodation because their problem is with the size criteria.If Universal Credit were rolled out, Alan and Jenny would claim Housing Benefit and not receive the rent element of Universal Credit.At some date, probably April 2017, Alan and Jenny may be affected by a new system for dealing with rents in supported housing.

23SummariesExempt accommodationCare, support and supervisionTypes of landlordRequirement to receive care, support or supervision

24Only exempt accommodationEntitles claimants to high level of protection from restriction of rent for Housing Benefit purposesProtects claimants from size criteria

25Care, support, supervisionCaselaw has established the claimant must:Receive a more than trifling amountWhich they actually need.

The care, support or supervision must not be a trifling amount it must make a difference to the claimants ability to maintain the tenancyIts not enough that the care, support or supervision is available, the claimant must actually take advantage of it or, if the benefit decision is being made at the beginning of the tenancy before there is any evidence, it must be likely the claimant will do soThe claimant must actually need the care, support or supervision if its provided and the claimant does not actually need it, it doesnt count.So the exempt accommodation rule applies in theory to individual benefit claimants and not necessarily to whole projects:Some tenants may not take up the support offeredOthers may receive support they dont need.

26Landlords by categoryLandlordCategoriesEnglish upper-tier county council1, 2, 3Housing association1, 2, 3Registered charity1, 2, 3Not-for-profit1, 2, 3Housing authority3, 4

Tenants of a private for profit landlord fall outside specified accommodation27Receipt of care or supportCategoryMust receive care/support?1Yes2Yes3No4Yes

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