Care leavers want better housing

Young people leaving care need affordable
accommodation that offers them additional support, a group of young
care leavers told a conference for housing association heads last

Speaking at the National Housing Federation’s
conference for chief executives, Solihull Council 16-plus team
service user Brian Cuff said young care leavers were expected to
find somewhere to live and maintain their tenancies at a much
earlier age than their peers.

He told delegates: “There is a need for a
greater level of support, on both a practical and emotional level,
as part of new tenancies, which may be written into service
agreements as part of an extended care package.”

Kerry Higgs, another 16-plus team service
user, added that young care leavers were often housed in unsuitable

“There needs to be a larger supply of more
affordable housing,” she said. “We don’t want to be in short or
long-term hostels, in areas that are frequented by drug dealers or
placed in rundown areas where no one else wants to live.”

Wendy Camden, a Coventry university social
work student on a placement with the 16-plus team, said a
multi-agency approach to the issue was essential.

She said: “[There is a] need for more
joined-up working between the relevant agencies that impact on, and
affect the outcomes for, these young people.”

Higgs also urged housing providers to
co-operate with social services to develop strategies to help
smooth the transition between leaving care and independent living
for young people.

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