Homeless female sat asking for spare change

Action taken to prevent care leavers becoming homeless

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

Care leaves 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 safeguard this vulnerable group and ensure they get the safe housing they need, the new guidance sets out how council housing departments and children’s services can work effectively together to support care leavers in settled accommodation and prevent them from becoming homeless.

The guidance illustrates 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 personalised support plan as they transition to independent living
  • those at risk of homelessness are recognised early and action is taken to prevent it
  • a quick, safe and joined up action-plan 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 heighten 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.”

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