Housing initiative for young care leavers shortlisted for award

An innovative housing scheme to support young people as they leave care has been nominated for an award.

The Leaving Care Housing Protocol scheme means youngsters who have been looked after by West Dunbartonshire Council are provided with additional support and secure tenancies when they become old enough to live independently.

The initiative, one of the first of its kind in Scotland, has now been shortlisted for a COSLA Excellence Award in the category of Service Innovation and Improvement.

Councillor Diane Docherty, convener of housing and communities, said: “Young care leavers are vulnerable and need help and guidance when it comes to going it alone for the first time.

“Having a place to call home has a huge impact on a person’s health and wellbeing, and I’m proud that this worthwhile initiative has been recognised in the COSLA Excellence Award nominations.”

Councillor Caroline McAllister, vice convener of housing and communities, said: “West Dunbartonshire Council was one of the first in Scotland to implement a scheme to prevent youngsters from leaving care and finding themselves homeless.

“They are a vulnerable group and need to have the opportunity to realise their ambitions as well as feel supported. Ensuring they have a secure place to call home achieves both of these aims.”

As well as a secure tenancy, each young person is given access to support to achieve independence and stability in the community through an Aftercare worker.

The COSLA Excellence Awards showcase innovative projects that are making a real difference to local communities.

Because the initiative was chosen as a finalist, the Housing team will at a minimum be given a Silver Excellence Award.

But they will present to judges before finding out whether they have won a Gold Excellence Award.

The winners will be chosen on September 13.

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