Social Housing – Here you can find out more about the Supporting People programme

Here you can find out more about the Supporting People programme, the Directory of Services and the website.





What is Supporting People?


Supporting People aims to make sure people get the housing-related support they need to live more independently, avoiding life in a care home or hospital, for example, or life on the street. It gives housing-related support to more than 1.2 million people, helping them to make a success of their tenancies, or to move to independent living from other places such as prison or hospital.


Is it the same as care services?


No. The Supporting People programme covers only housing-related support services. For example, services may provide help with life skills such as cooking, paying bills or budgeting, which is part of living

independently. But these should work well with local health or statutory care services, such as personal or nursing care, to help someone live independently.


Why was Supporting People set up?


The idea for Supporting People began in 1996 when a judicial review decided Housing Benefit should in future only pay for rent, and not for support services. The Supporting People programme was launched on 1st April 2003 to replace the old arrangements.


Who is Supporting People for?


Anybody who needs support to live more independently. For example, someone who has:


  • been homeless
  • been in prison
  • drug or alcohol problems
  • mental health problems
  • learning difficulties
  • physical or sensory disability
  • been at risk of domestic violence
  • difficulty coping because of their age (such as older people, teenage parents or young people at risk of offending)
  • come to the UK as a refugee
  • a history of tenancies breaking down.

Who is responsible for Supporting People?


The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is responsible for Supporting People at central government level.

Supporting People is delivered locally by 150 local authorities and more than 6,000 organisations providing housing-related support.



Who funds Supporting People?


Funds have come from grants including:


  • Transitional Housing Benefit
  • DSS Resettlement Grant
  • Probation Accommodation Grant and others.

Bringing together various complex funds into one single fund means local authorities can plan services to meet the needs of their local communities much better.


What is the Supporting People Directory of Services?


It provides information on housing-related support all over England. This information used to be held by 150 local authorities, separately. Bringing it together in one place for the first time makes it much easier to find the service you need.


What is the website for?


It includes all the information on support services in the Directory. You can use the site to find a support service that is right for you, for a friend or relative, or – if you work with people who need housing-related support – for a client.


What kind of support services will I find on this website?


A huge range – there are about 6,000 groups which, provide support listed on the site. Some examples are services that:


  • offer sheltered housing support to elderly people,
  • help teenage parents gain the skills to live independently or
  • help people on probation from prison return to independent living.


They include support with accommodation, for example housing with an on-site, full-time support worker,  and ‘floating’ support, for example a weekly home visit from a support worker.


How do I use the site?


You can use the site to search for a suitable support service.


You can use the site to search for a suitable support service.

If you need to find a service urgently, you should click on Emergency Accommodation in the main menu on the home page. If your
search is not so urgent, click on Non emergency support and


The site will take you through a series of screens where you give us information on:


  • the person the support is for
  • the type of support you are looking for, and
  • where you want it.


It will then give you a list of suitable support services.


Will it tell me anything about the service?


Yes, it will tell you things like the sort of support it provides and how many households it can take. But it WON’T be able to tell you if they have spaces free or if they will definitely take you – you will have to contact them to find out.


Will it tell me where the support service is?


Yes, you can search for a service by area of the country, by town or even by postcode. Most services will give you an address. But sometimes we have to keep an address off the website, if it supports a group of people – such as victims of domestic violence, or those with HIV/AIDS – who could be targeted by others.


How will I get in touch with a service I am interested in?


We will tell you how to get in touch with the services. Sometimes this will be by contacting the service direct, and sometimes by contacting someone else who can refer you to the support service.


What is the help button for?


You can click on the help button on any screen to get a fuller explanation of what is on that screen, and what to do to continue with your search for a support service.


Is there anything else I can do on the site?


If you already know the name of a service provider, or of a service, you can find out more about them by clicking on Other search options in the main menu on the home page. This will give you more information about the sort of organisation they are, where they operate and the service they run.


You can also download a list of all the support services in a particular local authority by clicking on Other search options. You can then print this list out. But it is important to bear in mind that these lists can be very long, and may become out of date quite quickly if services in an area change.


Can I look anywhere in the country?


Yes. The Directory of Services has information on support right across England. So you can search for a service anywhere in the country.




Ask a question


You can ask a question here and we will do our best to include your question, with an answer, on the Any Questions? page. To send in your question click the following link:




If you have any other questions about housing-related support services, you can contact the Supporting People helpdesk: