Northumberland Council launches supported accommodation service for vulnerable young people

People and families in Northumberland will be able to rent a room to a vulnerable young person. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A new service has been launched to provide supported accommodation to young people in Northumberland.

The supported lodgings scheme offers a safe and friendly home environment for young people aged between 16 and 25 at risk of becoming homeless or leaving care.

People and families - often referred to as "hosts" - rent a room to a young person.

Northumberland Council is looking to build a network of hosts in the area. They have said that it has a “number of young people” who need a safe place to call home and support to develop the life skills they need for the future.

Many of these young people have experienced “difficult and traumatic starts” to their lives, and have been separated from their families and friends, the local authority has said.

Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet member for Inspiring Young People, said: “Through no fault of their own, these young people have often had very tough starts to life. But your care, guidance and patience will support them to overcome their challenges and go on to thrive and reach their full potential.

“Just like our amazing family of foster carers, as a supported lodgings host, we will provide you with all the necessary supervision, training and support you need to carry out this rewarding and life-changing role.”

Other councils in the North East, including Durham and Darlington, already offer similar schemes.

Children's charity Barnardo's has said that supported lodgings can be a “great stepping stone” for care leavers not ready to live on their own.

They have added that the scheme allows young people to live in a family home and experience life in a “shared and supportive environment” – but with a “bit more independence”.

This includes learning skills such as managing a household, cooking, budgeting and accessing public transport.

Figures released in October showed that there had been a 33% rise in the number of care leaver households aged 18-20 assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness.

The data from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) revealed that the number of 18 to 20-year-old care leaver households in England facing homelessness had risen - from 2,790 in 2018-19 to 3,710 in 2022-23.

Of care leaver households assessed in 2022-23, 2,270 were already homeless, while 1,440 were threatened with homelessness within 56 days.

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