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Supported Living vs Social Housing: What’s the Difference?

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We often get asked about the differences between social housing and supported living. While both aim to address essential social needs, these two housing sectors serve different purposes.

Understanding the distinctions between social housing and supported living is important for potential investors looking to make decisions about the UK property market. Each sector offers unique opportunities, and these differences can help investors align their investment goals with the housing market’s specific needs.

At Yield Investing, our housing provider has expertise in both sectors, ensuring that the homes you invest in can support either social housing or supported living. They work closely with us to deliver comfortable and efficient housing for those who need it most.

Supported Living vs Social Housing: At a Glance

Social Housing Supported Living
DefinitionAccommodation provided to individuals and families with low incomes or specific needsHousing with extra care and support services tailored to the needs of the residents
PurposeProvide affordable housing to those in needEnable individuals to live as independently as possible with the necessary support
Who Lives ThereLow-income individuals and families, seniors, and people with disabilitiesPeople with physical or mental disabilities, elderly individuals needing assistance, and those with specific care needs
Types of Housing Apartments and housesShared housing, individual apartments, or group homes with care services
CostRent is typically below market rateRent may be higher due to the inclusion of support services, sometimes covered by government programs
Funding Government funding, subsidies, and grants.Government funding, healthcare funding, and sometimes private payment.
Management Managed by local authorities, housing associations, or non-profit.Managed by specialised organisations or care providers

What is Social Housing?

Social housing is rental accommodation that supplies affordable housing options to people in the local area. The government usually subsidises the rent for these homes, which are provided through housing associations and the local authorities they work with. This type of housing offers a comfortable and affordable option for those who need it, particularly when renting in the private sector. In the current climate, the private rental sector can be costly and lacks the funding that affordable housing benefits from.

The demographics of those who qualify for social housing in the UK include:

  • Low-income individuals and families
  • Key workers (e.g., nurses, teachers, police officers)
  • Homeless individuals
  • People with disabilities
  • Elderly individuals
  • Individuals fleeing domestic abuse
  • Young people leaving care
  • Veterans

Local councils and housing associations provide social housing in the UK for people with living needs and those with low incomes. They tend to offer longer-term tenancy agreements than private landlords, providing more security and stability for tenants.

Initially, councils and housing associations set social rents at levels that were considered average local earnings. At these levels, people in lower-paid work could typically afford to pay their rent without claiming Housing Benefit. This system was designed to ensure that social housing remained accessible and affordable for those who needed it most.

Over the years, the supply of social housing across the UK has decreased, making it much more difficult for people who need it to secure a socially rented home. This shortage has, in turn, affected wait list numbers and increased the costs of temporary accommodation.

What is Supported Housing?

Supported living includes all accommodations that provide support and supervision services to help people live as independently as possible within the community while offering extra physical and emotional support. This type of housing is designed for people who might not ordinarily be able to live on their own.

People who need supported housing can include:

  • Those with mental health issues
  • Those with learning or physical disabilities,
  • The elderly
  • Individuals with substance abuse problems
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • Young people living in unsafe environments
  • Those in domestic abuse situations.

Depending on their circumstances, tenants are often entitled to a wide range of government benefits to make supported living affordable. Then, the housing associations and the local authorities work to provide supported housing. However, additional measures need to be put in place to meet the requirements for providing the necessary support and personal care to each tenant. Trained professionals conduct assessments to determine what support is needed.

Many housing options are available within the supported living model, including rented social housing, special housing schemes, home ownership, and shared ownership. This means that people can access the level of support they need while maintaining an appropriate living situation.

What are the differences between supported housing and social housing?

While both supported living and social housing aim to provide secure and affordable housing, they serve different purposes and groups.

One key difference between supported living and social housing is the care and support services provided. One organisation often provides the assistance, while another, usually a housing provider, offers the accommodation. This arrangement allows for flexibility, so if the support provider changes, it doesn’t affect the tenant’s living arrangements or tenancy agreement.

Supported living is designed to not only provide housing but also to supply the necessary support services to help individuals live independently. This includes tailored measures to assist people with specific needs, such as mental health issues, learning or physical disabilities, substance abuse problems, or those fleeing domestic abuse. 

In contrast, social housing is intended for people who can already live independently but cannot afford to do so in the private rental market. It provides safe and affordable homes for low-income families, couples, and individuals registered on the housing list due to their inability to afford private rentals or home ownership.

Both types of accommodation can help address homelessness in the UK by providing safety and stability. However, some homeless individuals may not require the additional support services offered by supported living and can live independently in social housing. Others may need the extra support provided by supported living arrangements due to their specific circumstances.

What are the similarities between supported housing and social housing?

While supported living and social housing have different purposes, they share several similarities that make them both essential components of the UK’s housing market.

Both social housing and supported living are typically managed by housing associations and local authorities, ensuring that the accommodations meet specific standards and regulations designed to protect tenants’ rights and well-being.

Like social housing, people in supported living accommodation have their own tenancy agreements. Both types of accommodation come fully or partly furnished and are supplied with essential kitchen equipment, so tenants have the necessary amenities to live comfortably.

Tenants in both social housing and supported living are responsible for their bills and living expenses. This includes utilities, food, and other personal expenses, which they must manage independently.

Both housing types also emphasise long-term tenancies, providing tenants with stability and security often lacking in the private rental sector. This stability is important for fostering community and belonging among residents.

Depending on their circumstances, tenants are often entitled to a wide range of government benefits to make living in either social housing or supported living affordable. This usually includes receiving funding for their accommodation, which helps subsidise the rent cost and makes it more manageable for those with limited financial means.

Unlike private rented accommodation or home ownership, these benefits and subsidies ensure that individuals can affordably live in social housing or supported living, providing a safety net for those in need.

Social housing and supported living also provide excellent investment opportunities, with the added benefit of knowing that your ethical property investment is helping someone in need. These sectors offer stable, high-yield returns due to the UK’s consistent demand for affordable and supportive housing. 

Managing Your Investments with Yield Investing 

At Yield Investing, we offer many ways to help you start a new investment, especially if you are an overseas investor. We handle all day-to-day operations, such as tenant screening, maintenance, and rent collection, ensuring a hands-off approach to becoming a landlord. This management service can be a game-changer for investors looking for a hassle-free investment experience, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the rental income.

At Yield Investing, we specialise in helping investors discover high-yielding UK property investments that align with their financial aspirations. If you’re ready to explore the possibilities of UK property investment, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Our expert team is here to guide you on your journey toward financial prosperity in the UK property market.

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