Housing scheme for care leavers a first for West Sussex
Posted 2nd February 2021
A housing project for young people who have been in care in West Sussex has been given the green light by West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet on 22nd January 2021.
The scheme, which is part of a National House Project, will provide supported and affordable accommodation to care leavers aged 16-18, giving them stability as they prepare for independence.
Cabinet members voted to approve a £250,000 spend to fund a local house project for an initial three-years, after discussing the benefits of the project. The scheme will provide 10-15 young people with accommodation which they will have a say in decorating and furnishing. They will be assisted by a specialist team who will help them manage their own tenancy and help provide any additional emotional or practical support they need.
Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Children in care deserve the same opportunities as any other child, yet evidence shows that this isn’t always the case. That’s why my cabinet colleagues and I are delighted to approve this amazing project, which is already being run successfully in other areas of the country.
"This is a first for care leavers in West Sussex, and will allow those living together to support each other as they learn the skills they need to move into adulthood.”
The National House Project is part of the Department for Education’s Innovation Programme and operates successful schemes around the country.
Young people who have benefited have spoken about the positive impact on their lives:
• “It's not all about, oh you're just getting a flat and you're just going to move in. It's about meeting new people. You learn new things…money management, how to cook.”
• “The House Project is like a safety net for [us] care leavers.”
The Local House Project will be managed and run by West Sussex County Council with support and guidance from the National House Project. It is anticipated that the scheme will reduce the overall amount the County Council spends on expensive residential placements and deliver £1m of savings over the next two years.
The County Council will now look to secure local and affordable housing with a view to the housing scheme being operational in the spring this year.
In 2018 the Housing Plus Academy Think Tank ran a two day event on ‘ Homelessness: A National Scandal.’ As part of the response to the event the Housing and Communities team at the London School Of Economics then commenced to look at innovative and collaborative models that successfully prevented homelessness. Given that a significant proportion of the homelessness population have been in care and the approach that the House Project was taking with young people they worked with the NHP to draw up the following case study that was included in their final report.Read more
Islington Council has become the first local authority in the country to ensure that all young people leaving care in the borough are provided with wi-fi broadband access at home for the first 12 months they live independently.Read more