Supported Housing Alliance

The Supported Housing Alliance (SHA) is Homeless Link’s dedicated policy programme supporting those of our members providing supported accommodation services. 

We work with providers, commissioners and experts by experience across our membership to champion the vital contribution supported housing makes to some of the most vulnerable groups in society. SHA also gives our members a voice in shaping policy and practice across the sector.

What is supported housing?

Supported housing is any housing scheme where housing, support and sometimes care services are provided as an integrated package. Some schemes are long-term, designed for people who need ongoing support to live independently, others are short-term, designed to help people develop the emotional and practical skills needed to move into more mainstream housing. This can include support with health needs, including mental health, drug and alcohol use, managing benefits and debt, developing daily living skills and accessing education, training and employment.

At any one time, over 600,000 people in England rely on supported housing to provide a secure place to live and to offer appropriate care and support.

The purpose of supported housing is to enable people to live as independently as possible within their community, with a real focus on social inclusion. Supported housing schemes support a wide range of people, including those who are homeless, people living with mental illness, learning disabilities or recovering from substance misuse, people who have spent their childhood in care, are fleeing domestic violence, or those who are elderly and need extra support to live independently. Supported housing services include homelessness hostels, refuges, sheltered housing and long-term accommodation for people with ongoing support needs.

What is the Supported Housing Alliance currently working on?

Our current focus for the Supported Housing Alliance is to ensure the invaluable contribution supported housing makes to national and local priorities is well understood. We are working with our members and the wider sector to support the Government to:

  • develop an oversight regime for supported housing
  • gain a better understanding of the sector, including the role of housing support
  • understand the issues around housing costs, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.

In November, Homeless Link submitted a response to the Green Paper, ‘A new deal for social housing’. In our response, we supported the Green Paper’s broad aims to ensure social homes provide an essential, safe, well-managed service for all those who need it. However, our view, and the view of many of our members, is that the Green Paper does not go far enough in ensuring that social housing provides “an essential, good quality and well-run safety net for those who need it most”. Social housing can play a key role in both preventing homelessness and ending homelessness through providing a more affordable and secure place to live. We urge the Government to be more ambitious in taking urgent action to tackle the chronic undersupply of social and affordable housing. You can read our full response here.

You can find out our priorities for supported housing in our Future Focus report. We’ll be keeping members updated as this work progresses. 

Sitra has now merged with Homeless Link. In addition to the Supported Housing Alliance, please take a look at our trainingconsultancy and membership offer for the supported housing sector.