New guidance for councils on tackling homelessness

New guidance for councils has been published to help ensure care leavers have the stable homes they need, and prevent them from becoming homeless.

Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Kelly Tolhurst has said that the new good practice guidance recommends how council housing departments and children’s services should produce a joint protocol that sets out how they will work together to ensure: each care leaver has a tailored support plan as they transition to independent living; those at risk of homelessness are identified early and action is taken to prevent it; and a quick, safe and joined up response for care leavers who go on to become homeless.

Care leavers can often struggle to cope with the challenges of living independently at a young age without a family network, and they may need help to access services or deal with specific problems they face.

The government will write to councils to remind them that they can offer council tax discounts to care leavers. This is 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. This funding has been allocated to the 47 councils with the highest number of care leavers at risk of rough sleeping.

Tolhurst 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. The guidance I’ve published today will help key services ensure care leavers get the housing support they need is another mark of the government’s resolute commitment of helping vulnerable people.”