Earlier this month, we were proud to be mentioned in the House of Commons during a debate on the Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill.
The Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill will aim to stop landlords profiting from housing people with support needs in poor accommodation, without the support they were promised.
The Bill, which was campaigned for by homelessness charity Crisis, has been approved by a key committee of MPs and debated in the House of Commons.
If it’s given Royal Assent and becomes law, it will regulate supported exempt accommodation to make sure landlords can’t take advantage of vulnerable people.
Exempt accommodation is shared housing for people with support needs. This includes people fleeing domestic abuse, facing homelessness or experiencing poor mental health. It is exempt from the usual caps on housing benefit, which means landlords can charge higher rents and offer support in return.
Unfortunately, many rogue landlords exploit this system for profit. They deliver a poor quality of accommodation, with no support, for a higher amount of money. Homelessness charity Crisis has reported stories of people living in homes infested by mould and rodents, under constant threat of intimidation, bullying and abuse.
At Concrete, we work hard to make sure that we’re a good landlord and deliver tailored support to our customers. Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathan Gullis even referenced us as a positive example when debating the Bill earlier this month.
Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “We have really good providers in Stoke-on-Trent, whether that’s Concrete or Brighter Futures.
“They are fantastic examples of organisations that have, and will have, nothing to fear from this Bill, because they are fine examples of what a good landlord should be doing.
“It is absolutely correct that the only people who will loudly moan and groan about it are the rogue landlords who seek to profiteer off the back of hardship and misery, seeking to take advantage of the defenceless who they know will not have a strong voice.”
Concrete’s Head of Homelessness, Bruno Ornelas, shared his thoughts on the new Bill.
Bruno said: “This Bill is really important and we’re keen to see it approved and given Royal Assent.
“For us at Concrete, we’re encouraged that good quality providers are being acknowledged. We’re a good landlord that delivers high-quality, safe and secure accommodation to men, women and young people.
“Alongside this, our specialist teams are also providing incredible tailored support that has a positive impact on our customers and communities every single day.
“In recent customer satisfaction surveys, 92% of our customers were happy with the support they received, 89% felt safer after receiving our support and 86% said they felt more independent too.
“We felt really proud to be mentioned in the House of Commons as a ‘fantastic example.’ We know we’re doing the right thing, but it was great to have that recognition nationally.
“As a charity, we have nothing to fear from the Bill. We’ll continue to do what we’re doing, which is providing incredible support in high-quality, safe and comfortable homes.
“We hope that the Bill will hold landlords, who are exploiting the current system, to account. Too many people are living in substandard, even dangerous, homes, without the support they so desperately need.
“We’ll continue working hard to set an example that others can follow.”