Aberdeen rent support scheme to help young people during studies
A rent support scheme for Aberdeen City Council tenants has helped care experienced young people across the city enrol in higher or further education.
An update of the success of the scheme, which was previously agreed at full council in March, was given to councillors on operational delivery committee.
The beneficiaries are care experienced young people who are Aberdeen City Council tenants and are students enrolled in higher or further education.
Aberdeen City Council operational delivery convener, Councillor John Wheeler, said: “The provision of this Rent Support Scheme for care experienced young people in Aberdeen should contribute to an increase in the numbers completing studies, by removing an element of financial pressure from them.
“The scheme will also be beneficial in alleviating uncertainty created both by the reliance on a student bursary being the main source of income and ameliorating the absence for some, who, unlike their non-care experienced peers, do not have the safety net of a network of family or alternatively supportive relationships.
“As a consequence of this, many care experienced young people are at lifelong disadvantage in terms of social mobility and equality of experience and therefore opportunity.
“It is fantastic to hear the scheme has been a success and I hope it goes from strength to strength.”
Care experienced young people who qualify for rent support, are identified, and assessed by the city council’s youth team, the specialist support team which offers throughcare and aftercare support.
The youth team has a significant role in matching the assessed aftercare support needs of care experienced young people to the help available. Care experienced young people are financially supported in their studies by means of the care experienced bursary, paid by the Student Award Agency Scotland.
While the bursary allowance is higher than state benefits, it creates a requirement to pay full rent costs, which has created unintended financial challenges for care experienced young people who, with limited resource, can result in rent arrears. The Rent Support Scheme removes this risk.
The process which has been established allows for rent costs to be recharged to the City Council’s Housing Revenue Account, as an interdepartmental reclaim process. In Quarter 1 of 2020/21, eight young people have been supported by the scheme. It is anticipated that this number will grow as those who have expressed an interest in further/higher education begin to explore this option, after the uncertainty created by COVID-19.
In addition to the above, the Youth Team will work collaboratively with further and higher education establishments, to expand the reach of the Scheme, by targeting information to CEYP from Aberdeen City who are enrolled with these providers.
The report to committee said of those receiving support from the scheme, 87% of the group attend further education provision, and the majority of these young people aspire to progress to a higher-level course, with 13% of this cohort already undertaking university level studies.
There is an annual estimated expenditure of about £40,000 in year one, the report to committee said, and the success of the scheme will lead to a growth in expenditure.