How does supported living work?
Many local authorities have moved away from the provision of residential care services for people with learning disabilities to ‘supported living’ options.
In simple terms, supported living is an approach that is based on the belief that people have a right to decide where, how and whom they live with, and who should provide them with the support they need to do this. The fundamental principle is that you live in your own home, shared, with a partner, or on your own and you get the sort of care and/or support that works for you. This can look different for different people. For example, it might be:
- Living in a place that is rented through an assured or an assured short hold tenancy; this might be a joint or an individual tenancy, in shared or self-contained accommodation.
- Living in an owned property, either outright or as shared ownership.
- You might have all your support paid for. It might be for a few hours a week or it might be 24 hours.
- You might have a mixture of paid-for support and informal or “natural” support from family, friends and/or community support.
- You might not have any paid-for support, but some “natural” support.
- You might have set up your supported living from scratch, by planning for and getting your housing and support as you have designed it.
- You might have moved into an existing service – some accommodation with support that had a vacancy.
If you live in your own home, you have the right to stay in the property for the period and to the terms stated in your contract (usually 6 or 12 months for an assured shorthold tenancy, which can be renewed, or indefinitely, subject to certain conditions, for an assured tenancy), and to control entry in and out of the property (subject to the conditions in the contract). If you own your own home you can stay for as long as you are able if you own it outright, or as long as you pay your mortgage if you have one.
The separation of housing and support: Traditionally, residential care provides a full package of housing, care and support. A common element of supported living is the separation of housing and support. This means that as a tenant or homeowner, the person has a right to choose who provides their support and can change support arrangements without moving home or move home without changing support arrangements.
With supported living options, subject to their fairer charging procedures, social services and health funding can pay for care and support that is needed. The welfare benefits system can help pay for housing and everyday living costs.