Action to help prevent vulnerable young people from becoming homeless

  • New guidance for councils to help care leavers live independently and prevent them becoming homeless
  • Support for vulnerable young people announced during Care Leavers’ Week

New guidance for councils to help ensure care leavers have the stable homes they need, and prevent them from becoming homeless has been published today (26 October 2020) by Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Kelly Tolhurst.

Care leavers can often struggle to cope with the challenges of living independently at a young age without a family network, and they may need help to access services or deal with specific problems they face. Unfortunately for some this means they may end up at risk of being homeless.

To help ensure this vulnerable group get the support they need new guidance published today sets out how council housing departments and children’s services can work effectively together to support care leavers into settled accommodation and prevent them from becoming homeless.

The good practice guidance recommends how council housing departments and children’s services should produce a joint protocol that sets out how they will work together to ensure:

  • each care leaver has a tailored support plan as they transition to independent living
  • those at risk of homelessness are identified early and action is taken to prevent it
  • a quick, safe and joined up response for care leavers who go on to become homeless

The government will write to councils to remind them that they can offer council tax discounts to care leavers. This is on top of £3.2 million government funding per year announced as part of the Rough Sleeping Strategy to increase the support provided to care leavers at risk of homelessness or rough sleeping. This funding has been allocated to the 47 councils with the highest number of care leavers at risk of rough sleeping.

Kelly Tolhurst, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing said:

Young adults leaving care need firm foundations on which to build a stable home for themselves, and to help support them start their adult lives confidently so they can fulfil their potential.

The guidance I’ve published today will help key services ensure care leavers get the housing support they need is another mark of the government’s resolute commitment of helping vulnerable people.

Children’s Minister Vicky Ford said:

Young people leaving care too often face daunting transitions to adulthood, without the support system many of us take for granted. That’s why this government is working together to tackle the challenges they have told us they face, like housing, health care and employment, to make sure the right help is available.

This new guidance will directly support care leavers to live independently and prevent them becoming homeless – building on the excellent work many councils are already doing for young people in care. Everyone has a responsibility – government, businesses, universities and local authorities alike – to support care leavers at this critical time in their life.

The good practice advice document published today has been produced by the Homelessness Advice and Support Team within the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), and with the Department for Education.

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