Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Housing plans on hold as key announcement is delayed

Social landlords are warning they could be forced to can specialist housing projects after a five-month delay to a £155m capital funding scheme.

Allocations for the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund phase two were scheduled for October last year, but providers are still waiting on an announcement.

Housing associations, which made bids for the scheme in May, are now warning vital and highly specialist supported housing schemes might have to be scrapped if the allocations are not announced soon.

Jeremy Porteus, director of the Housing Learning and Improvement Network – which was formally responsible for the Department of Health’s (DH) extra care capital programme – said there was a “degree of frustration” among providers about the delay.

The £155m scheme is funded by the DH, which makes the final allocation decisions, and channelled through the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and the London mayor.

Family Mosaic last summer submitted a £1.6m bid for a 54-unit extra care development, and another for an autism-specialist scheme for the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund phase two.

These plans are currently on hold and are highly reliant on DH funding. It is in addition to the uncertainty these schemes face due to plans to cap benefits at Local Housing Allowance levels.

Moira Griffiths, director of care and support at Family Mosaic, said: “The risk is that the scheme might not get built and there is the loss of an opportunity for this customer group who need highly specialist accommodation.”

One council, which did not want to be named, said a planned supported housing scheme was also under threat because of the wait.

A senior housing figure, who also did not wish to be named, said he understood “Jeremy Hunt has a lot on his mind” but added the delay was “frankly absurd”.

The HCA said an announcement would be made shortly. The DH declined to comment.

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