Inside Housing – News – Exempt housing seekers in Birmingham double to 22,000 in three years
New Roots received a G3 / V3 rating in February 2020, meaning it was not compliant in both governance and financial metrics. At the time, the regulator found that the vendor had “significant weaknesses” in its business planning framework and “inadequate risk management and internal control processes”.
None of these ratings mentioned the quality of the accommodation or the conditions in the properties managed by the providers.
Prospect was lowered in October of last year to G4 / V3. G4 is the lowest possible score for governance. The basis of this rating included reviews of two serious backup incidents, which identified weaknesses in the owner’s procedures and controls over the services provided by third-party management agents.
Prospect confirmed in March that it has made the decision to go out of business this year and will begin a solvent shutdown. The supplier will close in the summer.
The list also includes the Three Conditions Housing Association (3CHA), a registered Milton Keynes-based provider that currently owns 147 properties and has 531 applicants in the city, the data shows. It is also currently on the list of ratings under review by the RSH.
Trident Housing, ExtraCare Charitable Trust and Midland Heart make up the remainder of the top 10 providers of exempt housing in Birmingham. For all these providers, exempt housing represents only a fraction of the housing they offer.
Trident and Midland Heart have both received G1 / V1 ratings from the regulator in the past six months, the highest rating registered vendors can receive for governance and financial sustainability.
ExtraCare is a provider of housing for people over 55 in the Midlands and is regulated by the Quality Care Commission (CQC). Of the organization’s 15 healthcare facilities, all but one are rated as good or exceptional by the CQC.
While exempt housing is particularly acute in Birmingham, it is present in other UK cities such as Bristol, Liverpool and Manchester. Data for December 2018 showed that there were over 4,600 applicants in Liverpool, 3,070 in Manchester and 2,740 in Bristol – numbers in those cities have probably increased since then.
The rise in the number of applicants comes as Birmingham council seeks to curb the growth of exempt housing in the city, as well as raise standards for those who live in those properties.
Last October, the council received more than Â£ 1million from the government for a pilot project to improve the quality of exempt housing in the city.
In March, that money funded the creation of a charter of rights and a set of standards for exempt accommodation seekers, which places new demands on providers and managing agents. This was also supported by the council which has recruited a new team of inspectors and social workers to check the properties and make sure the tenants’ conditions meet standards.
A Birmingham Council spokesperson said: âOur income and benefits team is working with other authorities and we are developing a good working relationship with the regulator.
âAs with everything in this area, we here in Birmingham believe that legislation needs to be tightened up, possibly through an exempt version supported by local housing allowance, or definitive actions triggered as a result. regulator reviews.
âThere is no benefit to the board in terms of how the exempt market is funded, especially given the additional pressures we face in our housing and community safety teams. Police are also in a similar position with limited resources due to this market. “
Sustain said Inside the accommodation: âSustain UK broadly welcomes the Birmingham City Council’s approaches to slow the growth of exempt housing, as well as to address the long-term need to raise the standard of supported housing and property for those in need. urgent housing.
âIn line with Birmingham City Council targets, Sustain UK froze its number of available beds two years ago and stopped offering properties in identified hot spots, where we believe social infrastructure cannot accommodate ever increasing levels of HMOs and supported life projects.
âSustain UK has also subscribed to recent ‘Supported Exempt Accommodation Quality Standards’ by Birmingham City Council.
âInternally, Sustain UK has a strong track record of inspecting all accommodation and support provided on our behalf. We will continue to work with Birmingham City Council inspection teams to help improve standards across the city. “
The provider added that at the end of February the number of properties it owned in Birmingham and Loughborough stood at 464, with the number of beds receiving housing allowances with Birmingham Council standing at 1,790.
Prospect said as of March 31, it had 253 properties and 842 exempt accommodation applicants.
Inside the accommodation reached out to Reliance, Ash-Shahada, New Roots, 3CHA, Trident, Midland Heart and ExtraCare for comment.