We were set up 20 years ago as a floating support service in Durham for young people aged 16-25 facing barriers to sustainable tenancy, working with young people individually to tackle their problems, successfully transitioning them to sustainable independent living.
Today we work with over 500 homeless young people every year providing supported tenancies and ‘follow on’ tenancy management for young people leaving our support service. Our impact with our tenants is demonstrated through our 92% tenancy sustainment and 94% successful ‘move on’ rate, working with a very vulnerable client group to grow their ability to live in the community in a sustainable way.
What makes us different is our relentless focus on the needs and barriers faced by homeless young people, our support staff are not housing professionals, they are specialist Youth Workers, supported by a professional housing team. This means we use the personal development of our clients as the primary support for their tenancy management; helping our young people to address whatever barriers they face to achieving their potential, whether it be mental health, independent living skills, employability or any other barrier – not just their ability to manage their tenancy – we look at the whole person.
Following an analysis of our work we have identified significant priority groups of young people within our homeless service users who require a much greater level of support to enable them to reach positive outcomes, build relationships and support networks and sustain independent living. These groups are young people aged 16 - 25 who are:
- Care Leavers
- Young Offenders
- Recent single parents
Forming between 30 – 45% of our client group at any one time, we are acutely aware of the additional needs of this group for support that we are unable to give today. We need to help this group in particular to grow their ability to form local relationships and support networks to enable them to live sustainably and successfully in the community and most importantly be able to call upon their support network for help.
Often isolated and away from a institutionalised environment for either for first time in their lives or for a long period of time,this group of young homeless people need focused intervention enabling them to live successfully, independent from support. This group move very quickly from a supported full time environment,in the case of care leavers and young offenders to being perhaps alone in a house with their own front door for the first time, and have not had the experiences of having their own front door key, being able to come and go as they please and manage their lives in a semi-independent state. For recent single parents, often with their own acute support need, this close support, advice and help can mean managing independently and keeping their child. The overall question we are seeking to answer for this vulnerable group of young people when they need help, where others would rely heavily on family networks is simply put: Who are you going to call?