For adults living with mental illness
This section explains the different types of supported housing that may be available in your area for those that live with mental illness. Supported housing combines housing with support services. This can help people to live as independently as possible. This information is for adults in England who live with mental illness, their loved ones and carers and anyone with an interest in the subject.
If you would like more advice or information you can contact our Advice and Information Service by clicking here.
- There are different types of supported housing to help people with different needs.
- You might be able to get help with the costs of living in supported housing. This will depend on your income and savings.
- You can ask your care coordinator about supported housing, if you have one. Or you can ask for an assessment from your local adult social care team.
- You can also contact a scheme directly if you think that they would offer the right service for you.
Types of housing
What are the different types of supported housing?
You might think about supported housing if you are finding it difficult to manage in your own home and need more support. There are different types of supported housing, which offer different levels of support. For example, some schemes might help you in your own home. Other schemes might offer shared housing with support workers or therapists.
It is important to understand the different options available when making decisions about what is right for you. You might come across the following types of supported housing:
- support in your own home,
- supported housing and group homes, or
- short-stay supported housing.
Support in your own home
Floating support services try to help by offering you support in your own home. The service might help you with things like:
- maintaining your tenancy,
- life skills such as learning to cook, or
- accessing care, local activities, education, training or advocacy.
Floating support is often run by charities, and it may be paid for in different ways.
Community care or home help
When social services offer you help at home this is called ‘community care’ or ‘home help’. Care workers might help you with things like household tasks, preparing meals and taking medication.
Social services will do an assessment to see how much help you need. They may ask you to pay towards the cost of home help. This will depend on your income, savings and capital.
You can find more information about:
- Social care assessment by clicking here.
- Social care – care and support planning by clicking here.
- Social care – charging for non-residential services by clicking here.
Supported housing and group homes
Shared lives schemes
In a shared lives scheme, you live in someone else’s home. They will give you support and be your landlord. These schemes are more common in some parts of the country than in others.
In sheltered housing you live in a block or group of flats. They are monitored by a warden and sometimes have extra support staff. You will support yourself in your flat. But you can get extra support in your flat if you need it.
In a group home you might have your own flat. Or you might have your own bedroom, but share a living room, kitchen and bathroom with other people. In this type of housing residents support each another, although some homes may have extra support from support workers.
Therapeutic communities are groups of people that are focused on living together and supporting each other. For example, you might have individual and group therapy.
You normally have your own bedroom but will share other areas. Many of the activities are done as a group. You can get more information on therapeutic communities from the Association of Therapeutic Communities. You can find their contact details in the Useful Contacts section at the bottom of this page.
Short-stay supported housing
If you are in crisis you might be able to go to a crisis house. They offer short-term housing and are an alternative to going into hospital. But crisis houses are not in every area of the country.
‘Crisis’ can mean different things. For example, you might be having severe symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions. Or you might be feeling suicidal or harming yourself.
You can self-refer to some crisis houses. For others you might need to ask a health professional or social worker for a referral. If you think you need to stay in a crisis house, speak to the health professional you see most often.
If you are not working with any health professionals, speak to your local authority adult social services team. You can usually find their contact details online. If you need help, then we can search online for you. Contact us on 0300 5000 927.
Short-stay hostels offer housing for a short time. They are usually for people who are homeless with certain needs.
The hostel may try to help you develop the skills you need to live on your own. You might get your own room, but if you go there in an emergency you may have to share. You may get a support worker.
You can find the details of hostels in your local area through your local authority or you could ask your care coordinator if you have one. You can also search on the Homeless Link website at:
Getting supported housing
How can I get supported housing?
Supported housing schemes are usually run by local authorities, housing associations or voluntary groups. The local housing department or your local community mental health team (CMHT) should be able to tell you about supported housing projects in your area.
You can look for supported housing on the following website:
www.direct.gov.uk. This website will redirect you to the relevant page on your local authority’s website.
There is often a waiting list for supported housing. You will usually need an interview before being accepted. If you feel that supported housing may benefit you, then you should talk to people involved with your care. If you have a care coordinator, you could speak to them during your regular appointments or at a review meeting.
When you have found somewhere that you are interested in, you could either:
- contact the service directly,
- ask your community mental health team, or
- ask social services for a social care assessment.
Contacting them directly
If you choose to call the service directly there are a few things you might want to ask them, such as:
- do you support people with mental health conditions?
- can I apply directly? Or do I have to go through the local authority?
- what support do you have available?
- what facilities do you have?
- how much does it cost?
You could try writing down everything you want to ask before you call. This can help you remember to ask everything you need to know. It might also help to call them with someone to support you. Such as a relative, carer or friend.
Ask your community mental health team (CMHT)
If you are already being supported by your CMHT, then they may be able to help. You might be under the Care Programme Approach (CPA). This is a framework used by the CMHT to plan your care. This can include supported housing.
Ask your care coordinator if you have one, for help with supported housing.
Social care assessment
You might be able to get supported housing through a social care assessment from your local authority social services.
In an assessment someone from social services will decide what you need. If they think you need supported housing, they have to arrange this for you. But you might still have to pay for this. This will depend on your income, savings and capital.
You can find more information about:
Paying for supported housing
How do I pay for supported housing?
You may be charged for your rent and care separately in supported housing. You might get one bill with both the rent and care charges. But they are sometimes funded differently.
If you stay in supported housing, you will have to pay rent. If you are on a low income, or claiming certain benefits, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to help cover your rent.
Before you agree to go into supported housing, it is important to ask how your care will be funded. Your local authority will have its own policy on how they fund supported housing services. They may ask you to pay some of the cost of your care.
There are no standard charges for your care, but there is guidance stating that charges must be ‘reasonable’. This means that you should be left with a minimum amount to live on after paying the charges.
Section 117 Aftercare
If you have been detained in hospital on a Section 3 or certain other sections of the Mental Health Act 1983, you are entitled to free aftercare. This is called ‘section 117’ aftercare.
The cost of supported housing is often split into charges for rent as well as charges for care. Some local authorities may charge you rent even if your care is free of charge under section 117. It is unclear whether this is within the law.
You can find more information about:
You can find more information about ‘Universal Credit’ and ‘Welfare benefits and mental illness’ at: www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/living-with-mental-illness/money-benefits-and-mental-health/
Who do I contact if I have housing problems?
You might have some problems with the supported housing you choose. Housing issues are a specialist area of law, and you may need expert advice.
You can contact the organisations below for expert advice on housing.
Shelter is the leading housing charity in the UK. They offer advice on all aspects of housing, including supported housing and homelessness. You can call them on their advice line, or through their website. They can also signpost you to local housing organisations in your area.
Telephone: 0808 800 4444 (open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday)
Disability Law Service (DLS)
If you are eligible for Legal Aid DLS can provide free advice, assistance and full representation, including case work and appearing in court. They can help with a variety of housing issues including homelessness, evictions, and disrepair matters. Can also give advice if you are not eligible for legal aid.
There are lots of different organisations offering supported housing or advice. We have listed some of these below.
Association of Therapeutic Communities
This groups produces a directory of therapeutic communities on their website.
Telephone: 01242 620 077
Address: Waterfront , Kingsdown Road, Walmer, Kent, CT14 7LL
Rethink Mental Illness
Rethink Mental Illness have some supported housing services in different parts of England. You can see if they have any services close to you using the website below. Or you can call the General Enquiries number.
This charity run services across the country. For information on your nearest local Mind, contact the Mind Infoline or search on their website.
This is a charity that offers housing, support, employment and other services for people who have a mental health problem. They have services in different parts of the country.
Community Housing and Therapy
Supports people with complex and severe mental health conditions including personality disorder, psychosis, and trauma to live more fulfilled lives. They provide a recovery orientated therapeutic community. Their services are based around London and the South East.
This is a large housing association with a range of supported housing services. They have services across the country.
The Salvation Army Housing Association
The Salvation Army runs supported housing across the UK for single, homeless men and women. This often includes people with mental health problems.
Sanctuary Housing Association
This charity offers housing services. They can provide different levels of support, and a number of specialist services are available. They have services across the country.
This group is a provider of housing, care and support services across England. They aim to help people with special needs to live independently.
Telephone: 0345 141 4663 (customer service line open 7am-8pm (Monday-Friday) and 8am-12 noon (Saturday).
Address: Head Office, 2 Gosforth Park Way, Gosforth Business Park, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE12 8ET
Email via website: www.homegroup.org.uk/get-in-touch/get-in-touch-form/
This group works in the community, hospitals and prisons supporting people with severe and enduring mental health needs and their carers. Their schemes include supported housing. They have services across the country.
This group offers supported housing for people with substance misuse issues and mental health problems. They have services across the country.
This group works in local communities throughout England and South Wales. Their services include small residential care homes and supported housing.