Supported accommodation covers a wide range of provision that have a common set of characteristics.
Supported accommodation sites provide self-contained ensuite rooms for single occupancy, or for occupancy by a parent and baby. They consist of communal living space and office/interview space for support staff. A single site may provide accommodation for 4 or 5 people, although some are large enough to accommodate 10 residents or more.
The intended residents in this type of accommodation are those who need time to learn life skills so that they can cope with living independently - typically this means young people aged between 16 and 19. The accommodation is also for those with high or medium support needs. It is important to note that not all young people in housing need will need this kind of supported provision.
Depending on needs and local commissioning practice, there may be 24 hour staffing on site in hostels and foyers, or staffing during core hours and a 24-hour call-out service.
Support is delivered individually with young people, and at times in groups. Each young person should have their own support plan and be working to agreed goals, for example those relating to their:
Arrangements about how long a young person can stay vary from site to site. In some instances, this may be for up to 2 years, depending on their needs and readiness to succeed in other types of accommodation.
Living in supported accommodation can be expensive for young people who are not eligible for state benefits.
As well as the rent, they will have to pay service charges and other charges for living in the accommodation.
Evidence suggests that some young people in work or on apprenticeship schemes are deterred from this form of accommodation. Conversely, for those already living in supported accommodation - where the cost is covered by state benefits - there may be a disincentive to seek employment if they feel that moving off benefits could make the accommodation unaffordable.
‘Support plus’ arrangements are increasingly being used by commissioners to help make optimal use of their limited supply of relatively expensive supported accommodation. These arrangements are characterised by: