What is supported living?
Supported living is a service type designed for people with a wide range of support needs, from 16+, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health support needs to those with Acquired Brain injuries or Complex Physical Support needs, this model helps people to retain their independence by being supported in their own home. People in supported living have their own tenancy and are responsible for their own bills and cost of living. This may include full or part furnishing and repairing any damage.
To afford these, the person may be entitled to a wide range of benefits and grants as any person not receiving a care service would. In single person supported living, or flat complexes they will also have their own front door, and are free to restrict access to visitors, including support staff if they choose.
A key element of Supported Living, is that the care and housing elements are not co-dependent, meaning if the support provider changes, this doesn’t affect the tenancy. The person has security of tenure in line with their tenancy agreement.
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.
Putting things simply, 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 people live in their own home, shared, with a partner, or on their own and get the Person Centred care and/or support that is best for them. This can look different for different people. For example, it might be:
Living in a small group setting with 2-3 other people with similar needs and interests.
Living in a place that is rented usually through a Registered Social Landlord.
Living in an owned property, either outright or as shared ownership.
Support could be a few hours a week or it might be 24 hours per day.
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.
Complex Care and Support
Through the Transforming Care program the United Kingdom committed to the reduction of people being supported in Hospital settings and sought to improve the provision of community support for those with complex Health and Social Care needs, such as Complex Autism and Forensic support needs.
The supported living model, with the right, highly trained staff and management team is still a viable option for people with high level needs. But, a clear, planned and staged transition into the community is vital.