Youth Housing Strategy
The Somerset Councils and Partner agencies acknowledge the importance of early intervention to prevent youth homelessness, wherever possible, but also recognise that suitable accommodation, support and advice must be in place when homelessness cannot be avoided. This strategy identifies four key objectives designed to provide effective and good quality housing, support and advice for the young people of Somerset.
The priorities and action plan for this strategy have been taken from the agreed vision and objectives created by the members of the Housing Related Support Advisory Group Young Person Thematic Group and endorsed by the Somerset Youth Housing Forum and through consultation with the Young People themselves.
The agreed Vision and Objectives are as follows:
To ensure that no young person form Somerset ever needs to be homeless, or in unsuitable accommodation; and to encourage opportunities to develop positive relationships and provide safe environments in which young people are able to grow in confidence, strength, self esteem and skills.
Strengthen Somerset's strategic youth housing co-ordination
An Integrated Pathway of housing and support services to meet the needs of all young people
An appropriate access point or points in each area and a comprehensive joint assessment procedure in place.
Early intervention services available across the county
Move on accommodation and initiatives in place in every area, for example, Tenant Accreditation Schemes, Homefinder Somerset bidding available in all access points, initiatives to increase access for young people to Private Sector Housing.
The full document is available for download below:
Pathways to Independence (P2i)
Pathways to Independence (P2i) was established in May 2013, following a comprehensive commissioning process which aimed to implement the requirements of the Somerset Youth Housing Strategy 2012 – 2015. P2i is a multi-agency housing-related support services for young people aged 16-24 who reside in, or have a local connection with the Somerset area.
P2i works with Somerset County Council, 5 District Councils and 4 major Housing Providers in Somerset:-
- Bridgwater YMCA (Sedgemoor and West Somerset)
- Mendip YMCA (Mendip)
- Knightstone Housing Association (South Somerset)
- Taunton Association for the Homeless (Taunton Deane)
The service is designed to prevent homelessness by providing targeted prevention measures. If prevention is not possible, the service will allow young people with housing-related support needs to obtain help until they are able to sustain independent living without the need for support.
P2i aims to provide a service for all vulnerable young people in this age group who have a relevant need without discrimination. There are however some young people who are either unsuitable for P2i, or who are not eligible as they do not reside in, or have a local connection to Somerset. In these circumstances P2i will aim to work in a multi-agency way to find the best immediate solution and plan for the further needs of that young person.
Individuals are supported through allocation to one or more P2i services according to need. These categories are:-
- supported accommodation,
- flexible/floating support (help to maintain their own independent accommodation or remain at home with friends and family),
- temporary emergency accommodation
In 2015, the P2i Board appointed a group of multi-agency stakeholders from the following agencies and service areas to work on the development of a new service specification (see the Tender Portal). To inform this work, a P2i Needs Analysis has been compiled. This report explores the needs of this group of young people, includes a number of stakeholder group recommendations and forms some conclusions of how the service needs to change to meet the identified needs.
The Needs Analysis can be downloaded by clicking on the link below:-
- P2i Needs Analysis
P2i Needs Analysis featuring quantitative and qualitative data about young people with specific needs, conclusions and recommendations for improving the service
The document contains a wealth of facts and figures relating to needs and P2i service users but some highlights are set out below.
- Between April 2013 and March 2015, 717 people received support from P2i services, which could include one or more of the following:-
- Supported accommodation;
- Temporary emergency accommodation;
- Flexible floating support (help to support people maintain their own independent accommodation or remain at home with friends and family)
- 209 (29%) of these individuals had more than one placement with P2i in this period.
- A further 77 young people aged between 16 and 24 were supported by Pathways for Adults (P4A). P4A is the housing support service in Somerset for adults aged 25 and over.
- Almost half of those supported by P2i in this period were aged 17 to 19. The most common age is 18, after which numbers decline with age.
- 219 placements closed in this two-year period (31% of the total) and 79 ongoing placements (42% of the total) were open for at least six months
- At 31st March 2015, there were with P2i:-
- 204 people in supported accommodation
- 125 receiving flexible or floating support
- 6 in emergency accommodation
- 61% of young people accessing P2i services (excluding Care Leavers) received support for homelessness, but other issues included mental health (10%), substance misuse (8%) and rough sleeping (5%) were also supported by providers.
- Care Leavers constitute a major group of vulnerable young people with specific needs around housing. 519 young people aged 16 to 25 were supported by the Leaving Care team in Somerset between April 2013 and March 2015.
- In most cases Care Leavers find independent living arrangements, foster carers or return to parents or relatives but 74 P2i clients were identified by providers as Care Leavers. This may be less than the actual number.
For more Information:
- Details of the service currently provided are on the P2i website.