The Learning Difficulties and Autism (LDA) Housing Network have come forward with new research, which finds that over £300m a year will be needed to support the demand for supported housing in England.
Several recommendations were also put forward in the report, with reference to strategic planning, funding, and oversight and regulation.
The study found that the number of autistic adults and adults with learning difficulties requiring care and support is expected to rise by an estimated 20,000 over the next 15 years.
To support this rise, between 1,800 and 2,300 new homes will be needed in England, which would provide homes for those needing to move on from their family home as well as for young adults transitioning from children’s services.
This increase in supported housing is estimated to require £304m a year over that time period.
John Verge, chair of the LDA Housing Network, said: “Good-quality supported housing can provide a lifetime of independence for people to live in the heart of their communities.
This report shows the impact, value and need for new homes, and sets out the changes required to ensure we continue to meet this need for quality supported housing.
Since 2017, the research found that 5,600 supported housing units for those with learning disabilities and adults with autism have been delivered, 13.5% of which was delivered through public capital funding.
It is estimated that the annual housing benefit cost is £357m, with the LDA highlighting that “the sector’s long-term sustainability is greatly reliant on the continued payment of higher levels of housing benefit for rent and service charges”.
Around 31,000 autistic people or those with learning disabilities in total are receiving payments above normal levels.
The report emphasised the importance of strategic planning
Among the reports recommendations, the LDA highlighted the need of a collaborative approach between the government, local authorities, and housing providers when it comes to planning.
Currently, only 23-25% of people with learning difficulties or autistic adults live in supported housing, while 15% live in residential or nursing care settings. The number of those living with family or friends has remained at over 35% over the last decade.
The report therefore argues that more supported housing which meets the different needs of the individuals who require it should be delivered by working collaboratively.
In addition, it was suggested that housing need assessments should take place every five years, following which, local authorities should publish their strategy for future provision.
Moreover, those with care and support needs and those who are living with carers and parents aged 70 should be prioritised.
The LDA also emphasised the importance of working strategically to ensure the current provision is fully utilised, reducing the level of under occupancy across the sector.