Joe Halewood is the Director of Consultancy Services at HSM who have advised over 200 supported housing providers across England and Scotland since 2000. HSM only work for support providers and not for local authorities in Supporting People as we maintain this is a conflict of interest.
Since 2000 and the start of the Supporting People programme in 2003 Joe’s work concentrated on three key areas: -
- Challenging LA decisions to reduce or remove funding from support providers including legal challenge and expert testimony at the Royal Courts;
- Developing existing support services to be efficient in all areas including remodelling services on a proactive basis, and;
- Developing new services with housing and support providers to better meet the changing need of vulnerable service users.
Joe has a national profile in supported housing and SP and is forthright in his views and not afraid to speak his mind which he does a a regular speaker on the seminar circuit. Branded as a ‘scaremongerer’ for predicting one in ten vulnerable people would lose support in the interim phase of SP (2003 – 2006). He was wrong as almost one in six lost support due to zealous savings culls from local authorities for the sake of savings with almost 200,000 vulnerable people losing support. Unfortunately narrow minded short-term decision making is still rife in SP with local authority commissioners.
Over the last few years Joe has established an increasing national profile in mainstream (general needs) housing and was the first to source and reveal the fact that LHA would be frozen this financial year (2012/3) and raised the issue of the shared accommodation rate (SAR) applying to social housing which many now believe will happen – a question of if not when appears the consensus. He also developed the systemic flaw theory of the overall benefit cap which sees more and more tenants having their benefits levels cut each year because rents rise faster then the benefit cap. HSM do work with local authorities and private landlords on housing and welfare reform changes and other non SP issues.
Joe approaches housing issues from a supported housing perspective and maintains mainstream housing is about bricks and mortar, but supported housing (ie not sheltered) is crucially about people; something the HB and welfare benefit reforms will emphasise to mainstream social landlords what customer service really means. If you dont approach welfare reforms from this people perspective you fail to see its full impact. There will be a rude awakening for those who only see the bedroom tax and direct payments as threats to their income (the bricks and mortar view) and not as much bigger issues for their tenant customers that will impact far more widely on their business or the people view.
The welfare reform agenda will also see massive closures to homeless hostels and to DV refuges and the welfare agenda cuts (which are all to housing benefit and not welfare benefits) are collectively the biggest threat to social housing and the social housing model. They truly are a seismic shift and yet not all of the consequences and impacts are known. Interesting and depressing times ahead for social landlords and tenants.
If social landlords and tenants don’t challenge these reforms now there will soon be nothing left to fight for or over. Joe regularly speaks at conferences and seminars over welfare reform issues and provokes much discussion in lively debates.
Please feel free to contact Joe on any of the above at firstname.lastname@example.org