HOMESin is the UK’s social and supported housing portal.
HOMESin is a social and supported housing combination
of TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Compare the Market & Zoopla. Zoopla has the strap
line ‘everything under one roof’ and that’s true of HOMESin too, whether you’re
a local authority, NHS or Partnership Board commissioner, a social or private
landlord, a care and support provider or someone looking for somewhere to live.
HOMESin is an online portal that shows what
supported and social housing is available by geographical area. It also
provides qualitative and quantitative data about the cost and standard of the
housing, the landlord, the provider of care and support, if there is one, and
the experience of people who have lived there and their families.
A commissioner looking to house someone with
additional needs can login to HOMESin and see what’s available to suit their
needs. They can view data about cost, the accommodation itself, who the
landlord is, who the support and care provider is and what services they
provide, how it compares to other supported and social housing locally.
It’s free to use. Commissioners pay nothing
at all. They just login to the HOMESin web portal. Social landlords and care
and support providers can list and manage their vacancies and services free of
charge. It’s a qualitative, quantitative and pictorial description of a social
or supported housing vacancy that gives additional information about the
services provided and any other data of interest to a commissioner or someone
who needs appropriate accommodation.
When a vacancy is filled, the landlord and care
provider pay a small fee equivalent to just one week’s core rent, so it’s probably
cheaper to use HOMESin than not to do so. As we say, ‘house people well, end
HOMESin is currently being piloted with
selected local authorities in England with a scheduled launch for September 2019.
It has UK-wide scalability though, and will be as useful to Scottish
Partnership Boards, providers and social landlords as it will to the local authority
NHS landlord/ provider sectors in Wales and Northern Ireland.
The wider significance of HOMESin is greater
than the sum of its parts. It’s the product of a frustrated ex-Commissioning Manager
who was tasked with resolving a situation where demand for housing for people
with learning disabilities outstripped its supply. Except that it didn’t… He
put together a comprehensive local database of housing for people with learning
disabilities and discovered that actually supply outstripped demand. That’s how
the HOMESin idea began.
HOMESin is also a ‘Value Generation’
service. Value Generation is a simple set of principles to underpin how
publicly funded services for people with additional needs should be ‘measured’:
It is important to attach a financial value to only the 2nd of these bullet points. Numbers one and three are qualitative outcomes and shouldn’t generally be measured in financial terms.
What outcomes do they achieve for people?
What is the cost benefit to the public purse?
What wider social benefit do they achieve?
HOMESin isn’t a publicly-funded service but
it has a social as well as a commercial objective, which is to generate value for
everyone who uses it. It also enables people who use it to make judgements about
the value of the HOMESin service to them as well as judgements about the
vacancies and services it lists.
English local authorities will be required
to operate according to a National
Statement of Expectation for supported housing within which they have to
identify supply, oversee quality and cost, commission and decommission services
amongst many other things. These are also the sort of supported housing ‘market
management’ needs that commissioners elsewhere in the UK will need to fulfil.
HOMESin is the ideal access point for
market data on supported housing. Availability and location of supply, quality,
cost, service types, comparative data, users’ views to name but a few examples
of the data available.
There is a need to think about the
regulation and oversight of supported housing going forward. This is something
else that HOMESin can accommodate, both as a framework for ensuring regulatory
compliance and as a means of generating data on the personal outcomes, public
cost benefit and wider community benefit (and much else besides) of supported