Care leavers’ accommodation needs addressed by new framework

The framework, developed by charities and local authorities, sets out five steps councils should take to help care leavers into better housing

Photo: Jochen Tack/imageBROKER/REX Shutterstock
Photo: Jochen Tack/imageBROKER/REX Shutterstock

A new framework aimed at improving the accommodation available for care leavers has been launched.

In a bid to prevent homelessness among care leavers – who make up 30% of the homeless population – the framework sets out what local authorities should do to help young people comfortably into after-care accommodation.

The care leavers accommodation framework was developed with the input of five local authorities, and has been launched by the charities Barnardo’s and St. Basil’s. The Youth Justice Board and leaving care and housing charities were also involved in the process.

The full framework lists five steps that local authorities should take to put young people in control of their housing:

  • Train young people on tenancies and the housing market
  • Involve young people in planning their accommodation
  • Reduce the housing crisis by having emergency options
  • Commission a wide range of housing types
  • Develop skills and confidence ahead of a move to independent living

Rachel Coffey, assistant director of policy and research at Barnardo’s, said the framework was based on St. Basil’s’ positive youth accommodation pathway, funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2012, which has been implemented by around half of local authorities. Several authorities have also already requested further support in using and applying the new framework in their local area.

“We want to see sector-led improvement, but there is also a role for central government to help share and promote good practice across the sector,” Coffey said.

Accommodation for care leavers needs to be as flexible as the young people who use it, Coffey added, and local authorities should commission a range of options for various ages.

“Examples include for young people who face multiple issues, for example mental health problems, who might need some intensive support in small-scale accommodation,” she said. “Or it might include lower-intensity supportive schemes like foyers for those in education or training, to floating support for young people who are in employment and living in their own flats but who need a bit of extra help.

“The main point is that the provision needs to be flexible to meet care leavers’ changing needs.”

2 Responses to Care leavers’ accommodation needs addressed by new framework

  1. BritWales September 30, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Care Leavers could be asked to consider Training for Employment as ‘Live-In’ Carers or Home Helpers where there are needy infirm, elderly, sick or disabled residents living in their own privately owned or rented homes, who require regular assistance most days of the week.
    Each could have their own personal Free Studio Room accommodation within the house, Bungalow or flat, in lieu of ‘Duty Working Hours’, plus access to bathroom and kitchen. They would buy and cook their own food separately, thus a Food Cupboard, with a fridge would be useful inside their Studio Room. Guests of the Carer – Helper could only be visiting during socially acceptable hours which would be agreed by the employing Resident. Time Off Duty might be arraged to suit Carers – Helpers to attend further Job Training or Study Courses with the aim of moving on to different employment or setting up their own business after gaining confidence plus a wide range of experience, inc!uding interaction with the general public through Seminars etc. Social Services could sort out the legal issues regarding whether the Employer Resident had Rent Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit, plus the Carer – Helper’s entitlement to an Income, Tax, etc. If these type of Stepping Stones are not viable for Care Leavers, offer such Live-In Work with Free Accommodation to vetted Refugees.

  2. Andrea October 3, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    I assume BritWales has no experience, or understanding of, the needs of care leavers, whose ability to look after, or care about themselves has been so hampered by their early life experiences that they need quite intense support to maintain even the most basic of independent living skills, including what is socially acceptable behaviour, that to make such a suggestion is completely out of touch with their reality and capabilities.