New guidance for councils to ensure care leavers avoid homelessness

The government has published new guidance for councils to help care leavers live independently and prevent them becoming homeless.

The Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Kelly Tolhurst released the guidance because care leavers can often struggle to cope with the challenges of living independently at a young age without a family network, which sometimes ends up with the risk of being homeless.

The guidance sets out how council housing departments and children’s services can work effectively together to support care leavers into settled accommodation.

Part of the recommendations centre around how council housing departments and children’s services should produce a joint protocol that sets out how they will work together to ensure that every care leaver has a support plan; that those at risk of homelessness are identified early; and that the response for those who do become homeless is rapid.

As part of the guidance, the government is also writing to all councils to remind them that they can offer council tax discounts to care leavers, on top of £3.2 million government funding per year announced as part of the Rough Sleeping Strategy to increase the support provided to care leavers at risk of homelessness or rough sleeping (though only for the 47 councils with the highest number of care leavers at risk of rough sleeping).

Releasing the guidance, Kelly Tolhurst, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing said “young adults leaving care need firm foundations on which to build a stable home for themselves, and to help support them start their adult lives confidently so they can fulfil their potential.”

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