The preparation of homeless young people for independent living and their experiences when rehoused Maureen Crane, Tony Warnes and Sarah Coward University of Sheffield Jennifer Monfort, Centrepoint Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The preparation of homeless young people for independent living and their experiences when rehoused Maureen Crane, Tony Warnes and Sarah Coward University of Sheffield Jennifer Monfort, Centrepoint Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth,

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Title: The preparation of homeless young people for independent living and their experiences when rehoused Maureen Crane, Tony Warnes and Sarah Coward University of Sheffield Jennifer Monfort, Centrepoint Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth,


1
The preparation of homeless young people for
independent living and their experiences when
rehoused Maureen Crane, Tony Warnes and Sarah
Coward University of Sheffield Jennifer
Monfort, Centrepoint Centre for the Study of
Childhood and Youth, International Conference
2010, University of Sheffield
2
Homelessness and young people
  • Estimated 75,000 young people (aged 16-24 years)
    homeless in UK at some time during 2006-07.1
  • Homeless young people are very disadvantaged
  • Without stable housing and support networks
  • High prevalence of personal problems
  • Support needs often not met by mainstream
    services
  • Important to encourage and support their move to
    independent living and self-support so that they
    are not led into harmful behaviours and lifelong
    homelessness, but not an easy pathway.
  • 1. Quilgars D., Johnsen S. and Pleace N. 2008.
    Youth Homelessness in the UK A Decade of
    Progress? Centrepoint, London.

3
Aims of the presentation
  • To describe and evaluate the help that homeless
    young people aged 17-21 years receive from
    homelessness organisations to live independently,
    their experiences of the transition to
    independent-living, and the support that they
    receive once rehoused.
  • Draws on information from
  • The FOR-HOME study of the resettlement of
    homeless people.
  • Centrepoints work in preparing homeless young
    people for
  • independent living.

4
Topics
  • The FOR-HOME study, and the backgrounds and
    problems of
  • the young homeless respondents
  • Centrepoint and its work in preparing
    service-users for independent-living
  • Young homeless peoples experiences of
    resettlement and
  • support received findings from the FOR-HOME
    study
  • Overview of findings, conclusions and
    recommendations

5
The FOR-HOME study and young people in the sample
6
FOR-HOME study aims and methods
  • To provide robust, longitudinal information
    about
  • (a) the experiences of homeless people who
    are resettled
  • (b) the factors that influence the outcomes.
  • Sample of 400 single homeless people in two
    clusters London, and Nottinghamshire / Yorkshire
    resettled into permanent accommodation by six
    homelessness sector organisations.
  • Semi-structured interviews immediately before
    being resettled, and after 6 and 18 months.
    Interviews from June 2007 to November 2009.
    Key-worker completed questionnaire at baseline.

7
Young people in the sample
  • 73 respondents aged 17-21 years interviewed at
    baseline 67 at 6 months and 56 at 18 months.
  • 47 men and 53 women.
  • 38 aged 17-18 when resettled, and 62 aged
    19-21.
  • 56 of men and 36 of women White British. 19
    born outside UK.
  • 36 left school before aged 16 (mostly males),
    many following problematic behaviour and
    expulsion.
  • 63 have GCSEs or equivalent (only 53 of the
    men).
  • Most became homeless following conflicts with
    parents, step-parents or relatives.

8
Self-reported problems
Problems Men Women Total
Percentages Percentages Percentages
Literacy difficulties 26 8 16
History of mental ill-health 29 41 36
History of alcohol problems 18 18 18
History of illegal drug use 53 31 41
of drugs other than cannabis 26 20 23
Ever in statutory care 23 33 29
in care 2 years 12 13 13
Sample size (N) 34 39 73
9
Experience of independent living
  • 77 of men and 97 of women had never previously
    lived alone.
  • Most said that they had experience of cooking for
    themselves and of keeping a home clean.
  • Around one-half of the men but fewer women had
    experience of basic home maintenance, e.g.
    decorating.
  • Only 23 of men and 26 of women had a lot of
    experience of paying utility bills. 47 of men
    and 56 of women had never paid these bills
    before.

10
Centrepoint and its work
11
Preparing young people for resettlement
  • Many young people that Centrepoint supports have
    a range of complex needs
  • Support and Development approach - holistic
    support package addressing all areas of a young
    persons life e.g. health, learning
  • Crucial to address wider needs if young people
    are to successfully live independently.
  • Work with young people throughout their time at
    Centrepoint to build independent living skills
  • Importance of trusted adult figure to advise and
    build confidence
  • Lifewise - basic skills courses through which
    young people can gain AQA accredited
    qualifications, including
  • living on a budget
  • introduction to bill payment
  • introduction to the private rented sector

12
Move on options
  • Social housing has been the most common move-on
    accommodation but is becoming increasingly
    difficult to access, especially in London
  • Private rented sector poses a number of
    challenges
  • Most under 25s are only entitled to single room
    rate of housing benefit difficult to find
    decent quality properties at this rate
  • Direct payment to tenant increased chance of
    arrears
  • High rents act as barrier to work
  • But private rented sector is likely to play an
    increasing role in resettlement, so Centrepoint
    strives to make this option work

13
Resettlement services
  • Rent deposit guarantee scheme
  • Specialist worker helps find affordable tenancies
  • Guides and supports them through process, e.g.
    the tenancy agreement, setting up utility
    services
  • Scheme pays for the deposit and first months
    rent
  • Tenancy support
  • Offers informal support for 6 months after
    leaving services
  • However there is not sufficient funding for
    proactive and intensive support for all young
    people
  • Formal tenancy support services are provided by
    local authorities in some areas, but access is
    limited and often restricted to certain groups
    e.g. care leavers

14
The transition to independent-living the
FOR-HOME study
15
Managing a home
  • 63 moved to local authority housing 29 to
    housing association tenancies 8 to
    private-rented accommodation (10 in London).
  • 81 were glad to have moved to their own
    accommodation.
  • Many without essentials at time of moving 63
    no bed, 75 no cooker, and 65 no carpets or
    floor covering.
  • By 18 months, most had a bed and cooker, but 18
    still without floor covering.
  • After moving, most coped well with basic
    household tasks. Only a minority (5) reported
    problems with cooking or laundry at 18 months
    mainly due to lack of equipment.

16
Participating in education, training, work
  • Once resettled, many were keen to get a job or
    study or be involved in a work-training
    programme.
  • At the time of moving, 23 had full- or part-time
    jobs. At 18 months, 29 had jobs. Many others
    were looking for work but finding it hard.
  • Great deal of movement in and out of work 62
    had worked at some time since being rehoused.
    Many jobs were casual or through an agency,
    insecure, and low paid.
  • At 18 months, 10 were attending an education
    course and 10 a vocational course. 14 were
    studying and had part-time jobs to help with the
    expenses.

17
Managing finances
  • At 18 months
  • Most reliant on social security benefits and had
    low incomes.
  • Median weekly income was 51 for men and 80 for
    women. Higher income among women because more
    were working.
  • Managing finances was major problem 50 had
    frequent and 24 occasional difficulties.
    Associated with low income, high utility costs,
    buying things for their home, and paying debts.
  • Men were more likely than women to report
    financial difficulties 82 of men and 67 of
    women had problems.

18
Rent arrears and other debts
19
Level of debts
20
Reasons for rent arrears and debts
  • 38 had outstanding debts at the time of being
    resettled. Once in settled accommodation, other
    debts caught up with them.
  • Most had no basic furniture or household
    equipment at time of moving. Average Community
    Care grant received was 372 several took out
    loans to equip their home.
  • Starting / stopping work had financial
    implications. When in work, had to pay all /
    part of their rent and council tax. When stopped
    work, took time for social security benefits to
    be reinstated. 18 got into rent arrears when
    stopped work.
  • Entering education also had financial
    implications. No longer entitled to social
    security benefits and so had to take out a
    student loan. Also had to pay all their rent as
    no longer eligible for Housing Benefit.

21
Support once rehoused and housing outcomes
22
Formal housing-related support
  • Just 28 received help from a tenancy support
    worker after moving (compared to 55 of
    respondents aged 22).
  • 24 returned to their former hostel for help when
    having difficulties.
  • 7 received support from a social worker (mainly
    former care-leavers), and 7 from a college or
    jobs training adviser.
  • 39 received no support from formal housing or
    welfare services after moving.
  • Many did not seek help when having difficulties,
    or waited until they had substantial debts and
    their tenancies were at risk.

23
Support from family and relatives
  • 44 of men and 69 of women saw a family member
    or relative at least once a week. Some
    previously in care remained in touch with their
    foster family.
  • Some said their relationship with their parents
    improved after being resettled others that it
    had become more strained. Relationships often
    fragile.
  • Their relatives tended to provide emotional
    support, encouragement and practical help, e.g.
    with laundry, meals or decorating.
  • Very few received substantial financial help from
    relatives if at all, mainly small amounts,
    irregularly and in an emergency. Said their
    relatives were not in a position to help them
    financially.

24
Housing outcomes
25
Housing outcomes by tenure
26
Overview, conclusions and recommendations
27
Overview
  • FOR-HOME findings and Centrepoints experience
    concur that
  • Homelessness among young people is rarely
    experienced in isolation, but often associated
    with a range of problems.
  • When they are helped to get over or control the
    problems that led them into homelessness, and
    prepared for independent-living
  • The majority succeed in maintaining their tenancy
    despite very low incomes and (in many cases)
    limited or fragile family support.
  • But many experience financial problems and accrue
    debts over time.
  • Once the young homeless person ceases to be a
    client of a specialist homeless organisation,
    many have no obvious agency to which they can
    turn for advice and help.

28
Preparing for independent living
  • Homelessness services can help prepare young
    people for some aspects of independent living,
    e.g. cooking and cleaning.
  • But many young homeless people come unstuck
    because their support needs do not easily fit
    into mainstream services and they lack stable
    support networks.
  • Priority should therefore be making services more
    flexible and tailored to individual needs
  • providing additional and flexible support for
    young people with higher support needs
  • removing structural barriers to them engaging
    with existing services

29
Providing personalised and flexible services
  • It is important that funding mechanisms do not
    prevent young people from accessing the package
    of support that is right for them
  • e.g. College Without Walls will provide learning
    provision designed around the needs of the
    individual young person
  • Joined up working - young people need to be able
    to access easily a range of different services
    after moving on from homelessness services
  • Closer links between housing, health and social
    services
  • Easier access to mental support 50 of young
    people at Centrepoint access help from in-house
    mental health team
  • Proactive targeting of those who are vulnerable
    but do not ask for help

30
Overcoming financial restrictions for young people
  • The most serious problems faced by formerly
    homeless young people are financial difficulties,
    particularly if moving into work or full-time
    education lack of awareness of their
    entitlements and ineligibility for some benefits.
  • Structural barriers in Government policy include
  • Work disincentives - The HB taper should be
    reduced to ease the transition into work, or the
    earnings disregard raised.
  • Limited financial support for young people in
    education - Young people should be able to
    access income support until the age of 25 if in
    full-time education (currently only eligible up
    to 20).
  • Single room rent - Centrepoint believes that
    homeless young people should be exempt.
  • Direct payments - Young people should be able to
    choose for their rent to be paid to their
    landlord.

31
To conclude
  • Government and support services both have a role
    to play in making sure that services take account
    of the needs of vulnerable individuals who do not
    fit into mainstream services.
  • Voluntary sector homelessness organisations have
    limited capacity to provide tenancy support, but
    young people should be able to access this at any
    point after resettlement.
  • Providing personalised, flexible and proactive
    services will give homeless young people the best
    chance of building a new future for themselves.

32
Contact details
  • Tony Warnes a.warnes_at_sheffield.ac.uk
  • Maureen Crane m.a.crane_at_sheffield.ac.uk
  • Sarah Coward s.e.coward_at_sheffield.ac.uk
  • www.shef.ac.uk/sisa/research/fields/homeless
  • Jennifer Monfort j.monfort_at_centrepoint.org
  • www.centrepoint.org.uk
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