Every year, around 10,000 young people in England leave local authority care. They face huge challenges as they move to independence without the support of close family. The poor outcomes that occur during transition and beyond, arising from the traumatic experiences that brought young people into care, are often compounded by experiences within the care system.
Research shows that about one-third of young people with care backgrounds experience homelessness at some stage after leaving care; one in three care leavers were not in education, employment or training at age 19; over 25% of the adult prison population had been in care; and care leavers are four times more likely to have mental health problems.
Our work seeks to share the House Project with a group of local authorities and build a House Project Hub to support any organisation wanting to implement our innovative solution, led by Warwickshire Council. Each House Project is based on co-operative principles and are run with and for ten care leavers aged 16+. Each House Project will function as a separate business but with support from the House Project Hub. Each Project will lease homes owned by a Council or other provider and support young people to refurbish and manage the properties.
By pooling budgets, the House Project can make support more effective and extend it beyond age 18 for those who need it. We see our model as a potential approach to ‘Staying Close.’ When a young person is ready, the home returns to the owner with the young person as a tenant, with the continuing support of the House Project community.
Mark Warr – Director
Warwickshire County Council, Islington London Borough Council, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, Oxfordshire County Council