I beg to move,
That this House
has considered future funding of supported housing.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Streeter. I am pleased to have secured this debate, which comes at an appropriate time, ahead of the Government’s publication of their response to the consultation that finished in February. I am aware that many colleagues want to take part in this debate. I shall do my best to accommodate them by taking interventions, but the pressure of time may mean that I have to disappoint some people, for which I apologise. Their presence, even if they do not get an opportunity to speak, says it all and sends out the right message. I confirm that I will support any application to the Backbench Business Committee for a longer debate.
[Sir Edward Leigh in the Chair]
This debate provides an opportunity to re-emphasise the vital importance of putting funding for the sector on a sustainable long-term footing and of the Minister providing a progress report on how the Government are getting on in formulating their plans. That is essential if we are not to let down a vulnerable group of people, whether they are elderly, young, physically disabled, fleeing domestic violence or facing mental health challenges. It is appropriate that this debate is taking place on World Mental Health Day. Housing is essential to securing parity of esteem with physical health treatment.
The case for supported housing is compelling. Demand is rising for care and support as a result of an ageing population and increased levels of mental illness and learning disabilities. Supported housing enables older people to retain their independence, allows young people to live securely and get their lives back on track and ensures that victims of domestic violence can find emergency refuge and stabilise their lives. It helps homeless people with complex and multiple needs make the transition from living on the street to having a settled home and providing education and training to prepare them for work. It ensures that those with mental health needs can stabilise their lives and live more independently. Supported housing assists ex-servicemen and women who are experiencing difficulties in readjusting to civilian life. It ensures that people with learning disabilities can maximise their independence and exercise choice and control over their lives. Investment in supported housing provides an alternative to more expensive residential care settings such as care and nursing homes. In that respect, it provides good value for money.