The terms ‘supported housing’ and ‘hostels’ are used by different people to mean the same thing. They refer to accommodation where you receive extra support from specialist staff, ranging from weekly visits to intensive 24-hour support. The accommodation and support is provided by organisations with expertise in supporting people to improve their life skills and opportunities.
How can I access supported housing?
You need to be referred to the Council for supported housing. Most referrals come from people who have some understanding of your needs and think that you would benefit from supported housing. The types of organisations that can refer you are:
- the Council’s Housing Needs Department
- the Council’s Adult Social Care teams
- the Council's Children's Services
- Community Mental Health Teams in the borough
- Kensington and Chelsea Metropolitan Police
- London Probation Service covering Kensington and Chelsea
- registered social landlords (housing associations)
- community organisations within Kensington and Chelsea.
- be able to prove you have been living in Kensington and Chelsea and have an established connection with the borough
- be homeless and/or in housing need.
How will I be assessed?
If you are referred to the Council for supported housing, officers from the Single Homeless Team will carry out a detailed assessment to see what type of supported housing is most suitable for you. They will need to see all relevant documentation available to help with the assessment process. This can include, but is not limited to:
- needs and risk assessment
- medical reports
- Probation Services reports
- housing histories
- documentary proof of residence in the Royal Borough
- identification documents
- proof of income documents.
An officer from the Single Homeless Team may contact you or the person who referred you for more information. They may ask you to come into the Town Hall for an assessment interview to collect more details. If at this stage you are not eligible or suitable for supported housing, we will advise the person that referred you and you can discuss other housing options with them. If we think that supported housing is suitable for you, we will place you on a waiting list with other people.
What happens next?
The Single Homeless Team is informed of all supported housing vacancies in the borough. When supported accommodation becomes available, we look at who might be the most suitable person for that vacancy. If this is you, we will let you know, usually by telling the person who referred you to us. We will pass your referral information and details of any assessment we have carried out to the organisation that runs the supported housing. They will check the information and confirm that the referral is appropriate. They will then invite you to an interview to discuss the housing being offered. There are a number of potential outcomes from the interview, which include:
- both you and supported housing provider think this is a good housing option for you and they offer you a place
- you refuse the offer of housing – in this case we will look at why you refused the offer, and if the refusal was unreasonable, then we will not look for further housing for you and your case will be closed
- the supported housing provider does not think you are suitable – in this case we will try to find out why and continue to look for housing options.
Living in supported accommodation
If you have been successful in moving into supported housing, the support staff will draw up a support plan with you. It is important that you work with the staff towards meeting the goals set out in the plan. This will help you to develop the life skills to move towards independent living in the future. It could include things such as:
- learning a range of life skills such as cooking, cleaning and budgeting
- managing all aspects of your home so as not to put you at risk of losing it
- advice and assistance on housing options including a move into independent accommodation in the future
- maximising income and budgeting skills
- registering with a GP and other health services
- accessing education, training and employment opportunities
- practical, social and emotional support.
- accessing services in the local community, such as social and leisure activities
There will also be a chance for you to get involved and have a say in how supported housing is commissioned and run in Kensington and Chelsea. There are regular forums for people who use our services, focus groups and training.
Moving on from supported housing
Supported housing is not designed to be a long-term or permanent home. While you are living there, support staff will work with you to help you to prepare for independent living in the future. When you are ready to leave, you will not automatically have preference for social housing (Council or housing association). Unless you have been working for six months or are in exceptional need, your move will be into private rented accommodation. Staff will help you to explore your housing options.