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How does supported housing work?/What is supported housing?

Posted04.03.24

What is supported housing? How does it work?

The accommodation that we provide is known as supported housing. Supported housing refers to the provision of accommodation along with support services tailored to meet the needs of the people living there.

Supported housing can vary widely in terms of size, layout, and location. It may take the form of shared houses, hostels with communal facilities, self-contained flats, or apartments. At Evolve we operate several large hostels where up to 80 people live in studio flats. Additionally, we manage smaller properties, including houses where people have their own bedroom but share a kitchen.

Supported housing is designed to cater to the specific requirements of various groups, such as young people leaving care or individuals with mental health needs. For example, we have specific housing for people under the age of 25, a specialist mental health step down service, and housing for mothers and their babies.

One of the key features of supported housing is the provision of on-site or visiting support services. Support often focuses on developing essential life skills that are necessary for living independently. This may include budgeting and financial management or cooking and meal planning. Futhermore, we support people to access healthcare services like GPs or local dentists or managing the medication that they take. Emotional support may be provided through an on-site counselling or wellbeing service.

At Evolve our services are staffed 24 hours a day by trained colleagues. Each person staying with us has a support worker who works with them to address their individual needs. This typically involves building an individualised support plan; these are informed by the person’s strengths, aspirations and  goals. These lay out the specific services and interventions needed to help them achieve what they want. Support plans may include objectives related to housing, employment, education and health. They are regularly reviewed and updated to ensure they remain responsive to the individual’s changing needs and circumstances.

In addition, move-on services are integral in helping people transition from supported housing to independent living. Resettlement teams support people by guiding them through housing applications and explaining different housing options. That is something we do at Evolve, as well as providing practical advice on budgeting, household management, and accessing community resources. Our goal is to equip people with the skills and confidence necessary for a successful transition to independent living.

People typically access supported housing through referrals from local authorities, social services, healthcare providers or homelessness services. Before being accepted into supported housing they may undergo assessments to determine their eligibility and the level of support they require. The length of time someone stays varies depending on their circumstances and support needs. Some people may stay for a short period while they prepare to transition to more independent living arrangements, while others may require longer-term support.

Funding for supported housing in England typically comes from local authorities, housing associations, charitable organisations, and government grants. For instance, at Evolve we receive housing benefit payments from the local authority that pay for our housing and support. The additional services that we provide, including our health and wellbeing team and work and learning offers, are covered by charitable funding.

Find out more about supported housing.

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