A new way of reviewing supported tenancies for people with additional needs has been agreed by Lancashire County Council’s cabinet yesterday.
The policy, which aims to increase the occupancy in supported tenancies, is being introduced following an eight week consultation with tenants, their families, care providers and the public.
Housing is provided by housing organisations. The care and support to tenants is delivered by care providers and commissioned by Lancashire County Council.
People living in these schemes are supported to live good lives in the community. In most supported housing, there is support around the clock.
Most of these schemes have been in place for many years. Some are not in popular places or have issues including stairs that may no longer be ideal or the people that live there no longer want to share their home with others.
When there are one or more long-term vacancies in households, it can cause problems for remaining tenants. They may have more support than they need, which impacts on their independence or they may feel lonely without housemates. They will also pay more for household bills than when the house was full.
Vacancies represent additional costs for the county council as the need for round the clock support remains, but it is shared with fewer people.
County Councillor Graham Gooch, cabinet member for adult services, said:
“Supported housing vacancies are a major problem.
“There are currently 160 properties with one or more vacancies, out of a total of 700 supported housing schemes. There are around 225 vacancies in total.
“We have a good record of working with providers to fill these as quickly as possible. However, some properties have had long running vacancies for years with no realistic prospect of them ever being filled.
“We can’t keep using council funds to pay for properties that aren’t being used when there are so many other services we need to provide.
“The policy will help to minimise the problem and ensure we make the best use of the accommodation available.”