Today I met with Homelessness Minister, Luke Hall, who is also the MP for Thornbury and Yate, as part of my campaign for supported housing to be regulated. Under current housing rules, providers only have to provide “more than minimal” levels of support to be eligible for higher rates of Housing Benefit. Whilst many providers do provide a decent service, there are some who see this simply as a way of making money, and do not provide the additional support that their vulnerable tenants need.
My interest in this topic was first sparked by Wick House in Brislington, which has long been the subject of concern. A number of residents have died there, including one who wasn’t discovered for three days, and last year the Charity Commission released a damning report which found evidence of misconduct and mismanagement in the way it was run.
It is good to see the Government recognises there is an issue here, and the Minister says action needs to be taken. The Government says that Bristol City Council is one of the local authorities doing a good job in trying to ensure standards are being met, but the Council needs stronger powers to take action against landlords, which, I believe, requires changes in the law.