HB exempt accommodation – a misunderstood term?

“The support worker … was a good guy, I would say that, personally, but when it comes to the job of a support worker, no. I think he was a bus driver before and one guy for thirty or forty people, so I didn’t see how he could do it anyway” 1Risk, Safety and Wellbeing in Shared ‘Exempt’ Accommodation in Birmingham, England | Thea Raisbeck | September 2018

1. Support provided in HB exempt accommodation may not match expectations. It is not uncommon for residents, families and friends to express dismay at the level of support on offer.

2. Qualifying landlords can meet the HB legal requirements for exempt accommodation by providing just more than minimal care, support or supervision.

3. But the HB legal definition, on the one hand, simply does not match the everyday meaning of “supported housing”, on the other. The ordinary assumption is that the individual’s support needs will be met in full.

4. DWP and other bodies confuse matters by referring to “supported exempt accommodation” (a phrase not found in the relevant HB law).

5. “Supported exempt accommodation” gives the wrong impression. The term implies that a resident in HB exempt accommodation is supported and is having their needs met. So there are often inappropriate referrals and disappointment on the part of residents and their families.

6. The mismatch occurs with the understandable expectations others have when they hear the words “support” and “accommodation”.

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