Meeting the housing and support needs of vulnerable young people
To consider a report providing an update on meeting the housing and support needs of vulnerable young people.
The Panel considered a report providing an update on meeting the housing and support needs of vulnerable young people.
Points and comments included:
1. Operational collaboration had improved greatly since 2014 and a cultural shift in how departments worked together had resulted in a greater understanding of Corporate Parenting (Panel) responsibilities by housing colleagues. Improving access to social housing had been a key success since 2014.
2. The Head of Service, Social Care Health & Housing explained that new duties of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 included care leavers living in another local authority area who were at college or university and fell into difficulty with housing now having the choice of which local authority they were able to approach for support.
3. The Act also included the duty on statutory agencies such as social care providers to refer service users that may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to a local housing authority and the requirement for a personalised housing plan.
4. A requirement of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 was the development of a Leaving Care offer. A key target was the completion of the first draft in May 2018, and for the final document to be published in October 2018.
5. The guidance for local authorities on the local offer for care leavers had been published at the end of February 2018. Further detail of the offer was awaited.
6. The Head of Corporate Parenting advised that from April 2018 (through the Children and Social Work Act 2017), the new duty of the offer of Personal Adviser support was being extended to all care leavers to the age of 25 regardless of whether they were in education would come into effect. The support would also apply retrospectively to carer leavers who had previously ceased receiving support when they reached age 21.
7. Members of the Panel were advised that eligibility criteria was in place for the provision of accommodation for Care Leavers.
8. Next steps included Central Bedfordshire Council Housing being the main provider of supported shared housing for care leavers with the majority of the housing being from Central Bedfordshire Council stock.
9. The Head of Corporate Parenting explained that depending on the age of the Care leaver, various entitlements, grants and allowances were available from the Government to help with utility expenses such as electricity and water bills.
10. The Head of Corporate Parenting advised that an assessment of need was carried out for all unaccompanied young asylum seekers in order to gain an understanding of language and culture requirements. A pathway plan was then produced setting out the services required which was specific to each young person.
11.Support was available until a care leaver felt they were ready to move into independent living. Personal Assistants were key to the provision of support for the transition to adulthood and independent living. The possibility of supporting those with acute need from 25 years to 30 years of age where appropriate was being discussed. The support would be offered on a case by case basis.
12.In terms of those young people barred from the housing register, the key was to work with colleagues in Housing to prevent young people getting to the point where they could not access housing.
1. the progress made since January 2016 towards an improved day to day experience of housing and support services by Care Leavers, and towards improved access to supported accommodation for those Care Leavers that are not ready for independent accommodation at the age of 18;
2. the experiences and challenges of Care Leavers towards achieving suitable housing solutions;
3. the proposed next steps and works in progress;
4. the related developments in this area;
5. the new responsibilities of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and how this would influence the development of the Leaving Care Offer.
1. that an update on the implications of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, Children and Social Work Act 2017 and Leaving Care Offer would be given at the July meeting of the Panel.
2. that a Care Leaver would be invited to attend a future meeting of the Panel to give their experience of the process.