Homelessness support

Supported accommodation is available for young people aged between 16-21 who are homeless or threatened with homelessness .

16 and 17 year olds

It is widely agreed that, in general, it is in the best interests of most young people to live in the family home, or, where this is not safe or appropriate, with responsible adults in their wider family and friends’ network.

When a 16 or 17 year old is seeking support because they are homeless or threatened with homelessness, children’s services response should recognise this and work pro-actively with young people and their families to identify and resolve the issues which have led to the homelessness crisis. However, if the key issues affecting the young person’s welfare and or the sustainability of their living at home remain unresolved the needs of the young person should be assessed, and appropriate accommodation sought.

Where a 16 or 17 year old seeks help or is referred, and it appears that they have nowhere safe to stay that night, then children’s services must secure suitable emergency accommodation for them under Section 20 of the 1989 Act, whilst their needs, including their need for continuing accommodation and support, are further assessed. If the young person is accommodated for a continuous period of more than 24 hours the young person will become looked after on pending the completion of a child and family assessment. A social worker will explain the young person’s rights to become Looked After under Section 20 of the Children’s Act 1989, and the package of support the young person can expect as a looked after child and care leaver. The young person has the option to elect not to become looked after if they would prefer not to be.

Once the assessment is complete, the young person will either be supported to return to home or to live with a responsible adult in their wider family, or if this is not possible the young person will move from emergency accommodation into a space within the supported accommodation provision. A plan will be put in place setting out what goals the young person wishes to achieve, how they will be met and in what timescale and who which professionals will be available to support them.

Where young people are not in education, training or employment support will be offered to find a college place, training course, apprenticeship or employment.

Over 18s

Local authority housing authorities take the lead responsibility for prevention and relief of homelessness for 18-21 year olds.
Applicants who are eligible and threatened with homelessness must have an assessment of their situation in accordance with Section 189A of the Act, which includes assessing:

(a) the circumstances that have caused them to be homeless or threatened with homelessness;
(b) their housing needs, and what accommodation would be suitable for them, their household and anybody who might reasonably be expected to live with them; and,
(c) the support that would be necessary for them, and anybody who will be living with them, to have and sustain suitable accommodation.

Housing authorities and the young person should work together to identify reasonable steps to take which will prevent the applicant’s homelessness, and a personalised housing plan containing these will be issued.

Housing authorities may complete an assessment for supported accommodation and refer the young person through to the supported housing provision. Over 18s are unable to access the emergency accommodation unless they are a care leaver but they are eligible to access a space within the supported housing provision when one becomes available.

Care leavers that are homeless or threatened with homelessness may access the emergency accommodation within supported accommodation, whilst a longer term housing plan will be established, which may include a move into the main supported accommodation provision, or alternative housing solutions.

More information is available on the Local Offer for Care Leavers website.

You can also read the latest Joint Working Protocol [Word].

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