The term “Supported Living” describes a broad range of housing and support options for vulnerable people. Supported Living is distinct from residential care and other schemes following basic principles whereby people have their own home, with the care and support they need being provided completely separately. This means they are able to exercise choice over how and where they live and who supports them. Supported living empowers vulnerable people and enables them to optimise independence and lead full and valued lives within their local community.
Supported Living focuses on one person at a time, planning for them individually. It starts with people’s relationships and social networks, taking into account family and informal support and community resources. Within this framework paid support can be provided in several ways, including staff employed by a social care provider agency or charitable organisation. Although support is individualised, people living together in the same house can and often do still share some elements of basic support.
Supported Living can be a suitable option for vulnerable people who may have complex needs, learning or physical disabilities or mental health and other support needs, as the support is tailored to individual needs. For some people living on their own is most suited to their needs whilst others may prefer to share. It is agreed on an individual basis, with support hours being matched to an individual’s needs, which may vary from a few hours a week to 24 hour support.
Unlike residential care, (in which housing, care and support are provided together) the separation of the housing element means that Housing Benefit can be claimed to pay for housing costs and tenants are provided with security of tenure and cannot be moved against their will.
Supported Living can be delivered in a range of settings and housing models including individual flats and houses. Individuals live there as tenants or owners or through shared ownership and may rent from the local authority, a housing association, and private landlord or even from parents or family. Self-contained accommodation offers greater independence to individuals.