Housing boost for care experienced young people

 31 August 2018  |  

South Ayrshire Council and its partners have made a commitment to improve the help given to young people leaving care to live independently.

Earlier this year, an event took place to find out what support care experienced young people are looking for when it comes to living independently and to consider how the Council and partners could change to better meet those needs and aspirations.

Care experienced young people who attended the event said they would like to know more about the housing options available to them, and learn more life skills, they also wanted guidance on how to successfully manage a tenancy.

Since the event, the Council has set up a working group to take forward these actions, with a particular emphasis on increasing the range of accommodation available to this group. This has led to the Council looking at a number of options, including furnished starter flats, 'buying back' properties and considering if some new build properties could be used to accommodate young people leaving care.

With a focus on improving life skills, a pilot First Home project has been developed. This provides one-to-one support for up to 15 care experienced young people and gives them the essential skills required to successfully manage a tenancy, from budgeting to cookery.

The Council is also fully committed to identifying employment opportunities for this group and has developed a guarantee to support care experienced young people into apprenticeships with the Council. The Council is also in the process of securing European Structural and Investment funds to dedicate two members of staff to provide employability support to care experienced young people from 2019.

Councillor Philip Saxton, Housing and Customer Services Portfolio Holder for the Council said: "We are working with our partners to identify more suitable housing for young people leaving care; this will lead to them staying in their tenancy for longer and becoming part of their local community which is great for social inclusion.

"There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each case is different, so we need to focus on the needs of that individual and provide one-to-one support for as long as they need it. We can also offer trial tenancy's so the young person does not feel overwhelmed as living independently can be daunting."