Peter Aldous is MP for Waveny and Heidi Allen is MP for South Cambridgeshire.
On taking office, Theresa May made it crystal clear her focus would be on leading a government that works for everyone and helps those who are struggling to achieve their potential.
Her vision reflects the fundamental values that lie at the heart of Conservatism: that everyone, irrespective of their background, should be able to realise their aspirations if they work hard.
Those core beliefs explain why we both see supported housing as being so important. Supported housing epitomises what being Conservative is all about.
It helps people who may be vulnerable or disabled take steps to become independent, live with dignity and achieve their aspirations. A helping hand when you need it most.
These vital homes and services help a diverse range of people in communities across the country: giving women fleeing domestic violence a safe space; supporting our war veterans to adjust to civilian life; or giving people with learning disabilities a chance to live independently.
They enable old people to retain their dignity in later life, support people leaving prison to find work and reduce the risk of re-offending, and help young people at risk of homelessness to stay safe and keep going with their education.
These services are rarely championed, and often subtly hidden in our communities, but they represent the compassionate conservatism that drives us. That’s why we are lending our unequivocal support to the National Housing Federation’s Starts at Home campaign.
Together we are championing supported housing and the difference it makes. With the Government currently reviewing how supported housing is funded, this campaign could not have come at a more crucial time.
Despite its importance, supported housing is not currently on a stable footing. The Government have recognised this and the additional costs that come from providing these vital services, and is currently reviewing how it is funded.
For the disabled and vulnerable people across the country who rely on supported housing, it is vital we have a sustainable funding model. The fact that ministers have consulted extensively with housing associations, the country’s biggest provider of supported housing, is a great start.
The Government is listening. They listened when providers said the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) cap was putting services at risk of closure and delayed its application to supported housing by a year.
We urge them to continue listening and put in place a workable funding model for supported housing. A crude LHA cap would see the closure of 40 per cent of all supported housing.
We need a system that gives providers the long-term certainty they need to continue building the homes that make such a difference to people’s lives. We need to ensure these services achieve their objectives, are of a high quality, and secure the outcomes we want.
But we also understand we need to keep the housing benefit bill under control. Achieving all this isn’t easy, but tackling difficult challenges never is. That’s why the National Housing Federation’s funding proposal to government, designed in partnership with the housing association sector, is a proposal worth listening to.
We implore Conservatives across the country to join us in championing the positive impact supported housing has on people’s lives and support this campaign. If you would like to see the amazing and humbling work these providers deliver, just get in touch – we’d be honoured to show you around.
For more information on the Starts at Home campaign, please visit: http://startsathome.org.uk/