While the majority of customers in the housing-with-care sector will have access to housing equity to be able to fund their move into a housing-with-care community, it is essential that the model remains an option suitable for all older people, regardless of their means or housing wealth. The UK has a proud tradition of providing affordable extra care housing options, and we strongly believe that provision for those with more moderate means will need to be maintained – and encouraged to grow further – in the decades ahead.
The Public Policy Problem
In recent years, the delivery of extra care housing for affordable rent has slowed due to a challenging revenue funding settlements:
- Funding for meeting the actual costs of providing complex extended services to an older client group (e.g. in the form of Supporting People funding) has been reduced or withdrawn over the last 10 years
- Changing governmental priorities on rent and service charge adjustments have created a high degree of uncertainty for operators, holding back new investment
- Funding for local authority-funded social care packages have been challenging against the backdrop of pressures on social care budgets
- Conditions and levels of capital grant funding have altered the business models registered providers operate under.
The Public Policy Solution
In order to stabilise the current provision and enable growth of a new provision in the affordable extra care sector, the task force will need to consider:
- Providing increased revenue funding in the form of additional intensive housing management payments
- Ensuring clarity over the future approach to funding settlements on rents and service charges to increase certainty for borrowers and lenders
- Putting in place a sustainable forward funding and grants programme for extra care housing
- Considering the financial means and status of residents of housing-with-care schemes in future reforms of universal and means-tested benefits
- How to ensure that social care funding for personal care delivery covers the cost of delivering these services.