Capital Funding Guide

5. Department of Health Programmes

This chapter sets out the requirements and procedures which must be followed when developing affordable housing funded through the Department of Health’s Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, the Homelessness Change fund and the Platform for Life fund.

1. Overview

1.1 Purpose

1.1.1 This chapter sets out the requirements and procedures which must be followed when developing affordable housing funded through the Department of Health’s Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, the Homelessness Change fund and the Platform for Life fund.

1.2 Context

1.2.1 The Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, the Homelessness Change fund and the Platform for Life fund are delivered by the Homes and Communities Agency on behalf of the Department of Health.

1.2.2 Although these three programmes are specialist programmes funded by the Department of Health, the general principles of the Agency’s funding requirements still apply, except where noted here.

1.2.3 This chapter should be read in conjunction with the other chapters of the Capital Funding Guide, in particular the Finance, Grant Recovery, Procurement and Scheme Issues and Programme Management chapters.

1.2.4 The funds are delivered on an individual scheme by scheme basis. Payment of grant will be calculated based on the funding agreed for individual allocations.

1.2.5 This chapter sets out the requirements relevant to providers delivering affordable housing under all three of the above stated Department of Health funds. These requirements will apply to all of the programmes unless stated separately.

1.3 Main Features

Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund

1.3.1 The primary aim of the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund is to support and accelerate the development of the specialised housing market for older people and adults with disabilities, in order to stimulate the market, for both affordable and private homes.

The Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund was announced in the Department of Health’s White Paper Caring for our future: reforming care and support, published in July 2012.

1.3.2 The Fund is split in to two phases. Phase one which made available up to £160 million funding was launched in October 2012; and Phase two which made available up to £120 million was launched in February 2015. For further information on both phases please refer to GOV.UK.

1.3.3 This chapter sets out the requirements relevant to providers delivering affordable housing under both phases of the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund.

1.3.4 Funding is available for schemes that offer Affordable Rent or Affordable Homes Ownership (shared ownership).

1.3.5 For further information please see the Housing for Rent - Affordable Rent and Help to Buy: Shared Ownership chapter.

1.3.6 Homes provided under the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund are expected to offer a long-term housing solution, which can be adapted flexibly as homeowners needs change, rather than for a temporary stay. Homes are for individuals who do not require residential care, but who would benefit from a home which is adapted to suit their individual needs.

Homelessness Change

1.3.7 The primary aim of the Homelessness Change fund is to provide tailored hostel accommodation and improved facilities for the provision of healthcare, training or education for rough sleepers, and other non-statutory homeless people, with the aim of helping them off the streets and transforming their lives.

1.3.8 The funding will provide or improve accommodation and/or basic facilities in which healthcare can be delivered, designed to address the health needs of residents, along with communal areas providing space for education and training opportunities to support residents into more stable independent living. Where appropriate, given the target client group, funded hostels should provide for the different needs of male and female homeless people.

Platform for Life

1.3.9 The primary aim of the Platform for Life fund is to provide stable, transitional, shared accommodation for young people who are homeless or in insecure housing that provides a positive environment from which they can engage with work, training and education and progress towards full independence.

1.3.10 The intention is that this accommodation will fill a gap for young people who do not need supported housing, but who do not have access to suitable accommodation with their families and cannot access accommodation in the market. It is intended for young people who are currently working, doing apprenticeships or studying (excluding higher education), but where this is under threat because of their homelessness or insecure housing situation, or for those who would be able to work or study if they had accommodation. It may also be suitable for young people moving on from supported accommodation as a bridge to full independence.

For further information please see below:

This type of accommodation is part of the Government’s Youth Homelessness Pathway as set out in the Homelessness Ministerial Working Group report Making Every Contact Count, and also responds to the concerns of young people expressed through the Youth Homelessness Parliament.

1.3.11 For further information on the Homelessness Change and Platform for Life Funds please refer to the prospectus.

1.4 Client eligibility

Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund

1.4.1 The Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund is aimed at providing specialised housing for:

  • Older people with care and support needs (including those suffering from dementia)
  • Adults with learning disabilities including autism
  • Adults with physical or sensory disabilities
  • Adults with mental health problems

Homelessness Change

1.4.2 The Homelessness Change fund is aimed at providing improved accommodation and facilities for the provision of healthcare, training or education for rough sleepers, and other individuals who are homeless but not statutory homeless; or at risk of homelessness.

Platform for Life

1.4.3 Platform for Life is aimed at providing shared accommodation to be let at an Affordable Rent for young people aged 18 to 24 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and are in housing need, and who are in work, full time training or studying (excluding higher education) or applying to do so.

For further guidance please see below.

The intention is that this accommodation will fill a gap for young people who do not need supported housing, but who do not have access to suitable accommodation with their families and cannot access accommodation in the market. It is intended for young people who are currently working, doing apprenticeships or studying (excluding higher education), but where this is under threat because of their homelessness or insecure housing situation, or for those who would be able to work or study if they had accommodation. It may also be suitable for young people moving on from supported accommodation as a bridge to full independence.

1.5 Scheme eligibility

Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund

1.5.1 Under the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, grant is payable to cover the capital costs of developing specialised housing accommodation to support the eligible client groups.

1.5.2 All provision funded under this programme must offer:

  • Individual dwellings with their own front door
  • Flexibility to adapt or install equipment or assistive technology in the home
  • Varying levels of personal care and support to residents, including access to GP or other health services
  • Communal areas (for housing for older people)

Please see below for further guidance.

It is generally expected that all schemes funded under the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund will be individual dwellings with their own front door. However, under phase two of the Fund schemes for people with mental health needs or learning disabilities who would more suitably be housed in a shared home with care were considered by exception. It is not expected that these homes will be large multi-unit buildings.

Care and support services could be provided either as part of the scheme of through locating the scheme near easily accessible and appropriate local facilities. It is recognised that, depending on the planned care needs of the residents, homeowners or tenants of wheelchair adapted homes would not necessarily require on-site or on-call care and support services. Therefore provision of such housing without care and support services is eligible for funding under this programme.

1.5.3 Funding is not available to support the development of traditional residential care homes or for general needs housing developments that are restricted to older people.

Homelessness Change

1.5.4 Homelessness Change will cover the capital costs of developing and improving hostel accommodation and facilities for the delivery of healthcare, training or education to support the eligible client groups. Funding is available for developing new-build hostel accommodation and facilities and for the refurbishment of existing provision.

1.5.5 Schemes which seek to improve facilities where healthcare, training and education can be delivered for the eligible client group within a hostel, without upgrading the bed spaces, are eligible. Funding is not available to develop standalone facilities which are not linked to hostel accommodation, or for facilities within an existing hostel which are not for the sole use of the eligible client group.

Platform for Life

1.5.6 Platform for Life funding will cover the capital costs of improving existing or developing shared accommodation for young people aged 18 to 24 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and are in housing need. Funding is available for the refurbishment of existing facilities and for developing new-build facilities.

1.5.7 Self-contained accommodation is eligible under Platform for Life provided that the overall scheme includes some form of shared or communal space.

1.5.8 In order for Platform for Life to fulfil its intended purpose, accommodation should be restricted to young people who are working, training or studying or applying to do so.

1.5.9 Platform for Life schemes are expected to be sustainable and, where required, have revenue funding in place in order to receive grant. Where revenue funding is not available, the accommodation should be targeted at young people who are capable of living in shared accommodation without the need for revenue funded support.

1.5.10 The expectation is that properties funded through this route will have a life expectancy of at least 60 years for new build and at least 30 years for refurbished existing properties. However, the Agency may, by exception, consider funding new build properties with a shorter life expectancy (at least 30 years) where housing providers are working to respond flexibly to changes in local need or to bring forward land that may not be available for permanent provision, for example through the use of modular construction methods.

2. Rents

2.1 General

2.1.1 Rent setting for Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, Homelessness Change and Platform for Life schemes should follow the same processes as the Affordable Homes Programme set out in Housing for Rent - Affordable Rent section.

For further guidance please see below.

When setting an Affordable Rent (for vulnerable and older client groups), the gross market rent comparables should be based on similar types and models of service provision. Where there are insufficient comparables for similar types of provision in the local area, valuers should identify comparables from other areas, and extrapolate their best view of the gross market rent that would be applicable in the location in which the property is situated. Providers should set the initial rent at up to 80% of that level.

2.2 Service Charges

2.2.1 Affordable Rent charged for properties under the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, Homelessness Change and Platform for Life should be inclusive of services charges.

2.2.2 Exceptionally rents may exceed 80% of market levels in areas where an Affordable Rent would otherwise be lower than the target rent for the property (inclusive of service charges). The target rent therefore constitutes a ‘floor’ for the rent to be charged. However providers will be required to document such decisions together with supporting evidence for audit purposes.

2.2.3 The service charges included in the rent should however only be to cover the building related charges of the scheme. Any personal care or support charges should be covered by the appropriate revenue funding.

3. Tenancy agreements

3.1 General

3.1.1 Tenancy arrangements for Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, Homelessness Change and Platform for Life schemes should follow the same processes as the Affordable Homes Programme set out in Housing for Rent - tenancy arrangements.

3.2 Platform for Life

3.2.1 In order for Platform for Life accommodation to fulfil its intended purpose, it is important that it is restricted to young people who are working, training or studying or applying to do so

3.2.2 For Platform for Life it is expected that tenancies are made available for a minimum of 2 years for residents who comply with tenancy conditions around participation in employment and training and who continue to need the accommodation. Tenancies should be timed limited to ensure accommodation is available for those in need as current tenants are supported into longer term independent accommodation. Use of probationary tenancies in order to ensure that schemes fulfil their purpose and do not lead to anti-social behaviour is encouraged.

4. Grant Recovery

4.1 Grant recycling

4.1.1 The main provisions of The Recovery of Capital Grants and Recycled Capital Grant Fund General Determination 2015 and the Grant Recovery chapter apply to these programmes however, at present, grant recycling is not available for the Department of Health-funded grant.

5. Reporting and Auditing Requirements

5.1 Platform for Life

5.1.1 Providers with an allocation under Platform for Life are expected to participate in an evaluation that aims to quantify the benefits of the programme approach. As part of this, following the completion of a scheme, providers will be expected to provide data relating to access to their services(s). Further details of the information requirements will be provided in due course.