Nottinghamshire County Council begins public consultation on tackling youth homelessness

editorial image

Nottinghamshire County Council has begun a public consultation about its draft plan to prevent and tackle youth homelessness across the county.

This is the Council’s first youth homelessness plan and sets out its commitment to support 19 to 25 year olds and teenage parents. It’s been produced by the Council and local specialist in homelessness and supported accommodation, HLG.

It comes at a time when a rise in the levels of youth homelessness over the next few years is anticipated just as resources to tackle the problem are diminishing.

Coun Philip Owen, cabinet member for children and young people’s services said: “Our vision is to improve the life chances, life changes and life choices of young people in Nottinghamshire who are threatened with homelessness or are already homeless.

“The strategy recognises that, in most cases, staying at home is the most suitable option for young people, especially those under 18, unless the risk of harm would make it unsafe for them to do so.

“Youth homelessness is not a new problem. It is an entrenched and complex social phenomenon and one that needs our attention.”

The plan provides a framework for all agencies and partners to develop and deliver services which focus on early intervention, prevention and helping young people to remain at home where it’s safe and possible to do so. It will also ensure that planned moves to suitable accommodation include packages of support which meet the young people’s needs.

Plans for improvement in support include:

Intervening early with those at risk of becoming homeless and making sure effective support packages can be provided to individuals and families – most young people at risk will have needs which could have been addressed before they develop into a crisis

Ensuring that there is a co-ordinated response between district/borough councils and the County Council when young people approach either one with a housing crisis and that they are directed towards the service or agency which can help them most – this might mean an offer of family mediation before temporary accommodation is suggested, for example

Negotiating with service providers so existing housing provision meets current and future needs – so, expanding the amount of short-term temporary accommodation available in each area of the county which can also be used as respite accommodation

Preventing rough sleeping which results from young people being evicted from temporary accommodation with little or no notice by developing an early warning system to manage evictions; and

Ensuring that young people who experience homelessness are assessed about their emotional and practical readiness to live independently so they get the help they need to make a smooth transition to adulthood and independence.

The 10-week consultation ends on 24 May 2012. To take part click here.