New report calls for greater homelessness protection for care leavers
Housing minister Kevin Stewart has pledged to deliver new recommendations to improve support for care leavers at risk of homelessness.
A working group, coordinated by the A Way Home Scotland coalition, has produced eight recommendations to make support for care leavers simpler and more consistent across Scotland.
The report recommends:
- that existing legislation is better implemented for those with a legal duty of care to care leavers to help prevent them from experiencing homelessness at the point of leaving care and later
- that care leavers who experience homelessness are rapidly provided with support which is effectively tailored to their specific needs and circumstances
- that young people are prepared for and supported, with care and sensitivity, through the transition into adulthood.
Mr Stewart said: “This report provides an excellent set of recommendations that provides tangible guidance and solutions to the problems care leavers face finding and keeping a home.
“Young people leaving care are some of the most vulnerable people in our society and we should take all actions possible to prevent them from ever becoming homeless.
“It’s vital housing and children’s services work seamlessly with wider support services to ensure young people’s needs are met.
“We will ensure that we meet the ambitions set out in this report to improve young people’s housing outcomes.”
Set-up and launched by the Rock Trust in 2017, and funded by the Scottish Government, A Way Home Scotland is a national coalition committed to ending youth homelessness in Scotland in ten years.
The coalition brings together organisations and professionals from across Scotland working in the fields of housing, homelessness, education, youth work, families, health and justice to create and implement plans to address youth homelessness in their localities.
Tam Baillie, former Children and Young People Commissioner for Scotland and chair of the A Way Home Scotland coalition, said: “No young person should be homeless and that particularly applies to care experienced young people for whom we have additional responsibilities with legal requirements.
“No parent wants their child to experience homelessness and so it should be for our children in care. We can and should deliver the very best start to their adult life and they have a right to expect we live up to our obligations. Time to make the step-change, here and now.”
Kate Polson from Rock Trust, which assists young people to avoid, survive and move on from homelessness, added: “Scotland has a history of progressive policy and legislation in relation to housing, homelessness and our care system. The recommendations in this report highlight how we implement all of this guidance to prevent young people from entering homelessness.
“The Rock Trust thanks all of the partners who joined us in the A Way Home coalition to write the report and drive forward our work to end youth homelessness in Scotland.”
SFHA chief executive Sally Thomas added: “We welcome the new recommendations to improve support for care leavers at risk of homelessness. It is vital that vulnerable children and young people are supported to live in homes where they can thrive.
“Our members are already at the forefront of partnerships providing specific services and support to young people leaving care. Good examples are the programme offered by Almond Housing Association in partnership with the Rock Trust, and the Care Leavers Protocol operated by Glasgow City Council with a number of Glasgow-based housing associations.”