Pioneering project to tackle youth homelessness shortlisted for £50k grant

Pioneering project to tackle youth homelessness shortlisted for £50k grant

The Rock Trust, in partnership with Almond Housing Association, has been shortlisted for a community grant of up to £50,000 from the Nationwide Building Society.

The partnership is delivering the UK’s first Housing First for Youth project, providing housing solutions for care leavers with indicators of complex need.

Scottish Government statistics (2016) reveal that at least 21% of care leavers become homeless within five years of leaving care, while practitioners suggest this could be even higher at 30-50% due to issues with self-declaration.

Through the pioneering project, five tenancies were offered to young people in West Lothian, with support based around their individual needs including education, employment, health and wellbeing.

Rock Trust CEO Kate Polson said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for a Community Grant from Nationwide. Housing First has been recognised as a vital approach for supporting the most vulnerable people in our society to move on from homelessness for good. This grant would enable us to help more young people access this life-changing package of support.”

Almond CEO George Webster said: “This shortlisting is great news for all concerned in the project. We have worked hard with our partners to get this project up and running, and additional resourcing can only mean that we will be able to help more young people who have had a pretty tough start. Almond is delighted to hear that the project has been recognised as being worthy of shortlisting – and hopefully succeeding too!”

Many young people leaving care will have experienced significant trauma and instability in their early lives – and are unable to do what is required to be allowed permanent housing under the current model. This route relies on an individual being able to prove readiness at each stage, to move to the next.

Housing First works on the belief that housing is a basic human right. The Housing First for Youth model extends that right to young people, and acknowledges they have specific needs related to their age. It is hoped the pilot scheme will build evidence needed to expand the service to more young people and encourage the housing sector to follow this model.

Members of the Nationwide Building Society can cast a vote for the project here and the closing date is July 20.

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