Starts at Home Day 2023

Starts at Home day 2023

We're proud to support Starts at Home day, the annual campaign to raise awareness of the need for supported housing. This year's theme celebrates the value of care and support services and the difference that having a safe and secure place to call home can make to people’s lives.

Our Executive Director of Housing, Ian Gilders has written this blog:

A lifeline for lifetime independence

Good-quality supported housing has a pivotal role to play in transforming lives and enabling people to live independently and in the heart of their communities.

While Advance is known for enabling affordable home ownership for people with a long-term disability (HOLD), we recognise that the HOLD scheme is not suitable for everyone and are equally as keen to deliver good-quality and affordable rented supported housing.

There are a number of specialist providers, like Advance, who are advocating for those with learning disabilities and autism to have access to quality housing and support. However, until now, putting the current position into an evidenced-based context for government, local authorities and the wider public has been no easy task.

Advance was a founding member of the Learning Disability and Autism Housing Network (LDAHN) in 2020. The network has enabled us to work alongside other like-minded organisations who each share our vision for raising awareness of the housing needs and aspirations of people with a learning disability or autism.

Recently, the LDAHN commissioned a research report titled Supported housing for people with learning disabilities and autistic people in England, undertaken by Housing LIN. The report captures for the first time the current provision and future need, as well as the funding required to provide high-quality, long-term rented supported housing, delivered as part of a well-regulated and sustainably funded sector.

Some of the findings are striking. For example, whilst around 23% of adults with learning disabilities or autism who have support needs live in supported housing, a higher proportion (36%) currently live with family and friends. While this figure hasn’t greatly changed in the last decade, there is concern about what this could mean for individuals living with ageing carers.

It’s estimated that to accommodate these individuals and house young adults transitioning from children’s services, between 1,800 and 2,300 new supported homes each year will need to be provided across England.

Over the last five years, just 5,500 new supported homes were provided. However, only 3.5% of the capital funding for these homes came from Homes England, the public body charged with delivery of new social housing. The system of public funding for this kind of housing is not working.

Taking just over a year to scope and collate, this latest research clearly highlights the risks of under-investment in rented supported housing. It also proposes solutions.

Most importantly, national government must set the policy and funding context to enable the delivery of new, good quality, affordable homes. This is do-able, in partnership with providers like those involved with the LDAHN and the wider sector, without a dramatic overall increase in public funding.

Here at Advance, we’re more determined than ever to ensure that we play our part and create as many opportunities as possible for people with learning disabilities and autism have a safe place to call home.