Nearly a dozen of Ashfield's care and institution leavers not getting 'best start at life'

Homelessness shadowed the lives of nearly a dozen people in Ashfield who left care or institutions last year, figures reveal.

By Federica Bedendo
Friday, 1st October 2021, 4:30 pm

With thousands of vulnerable people in this situation across England, campaigners are calling for more investment in services to support the transition out of settings such as hospitals and prisons, or the care system.

Data released by the former Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government shows in the year to March, Ashfield Council owed homelessness support to eight households where the main applicant had left an institution with no settled accommodation to return to.

Of those, seven had already become homeless, while one faced the prospect of not having a roof over their head.

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The Care Leavers' Association estimates around one in 10 care leavers struggle to secure housing, with the remainder often living in unsuitable homes.

They were among 7,720 households across England pushed into homelessness or at risk of losing accommodation for this reason in 2020-21 – a 24 per cent rise on 2019-20.

Separate figures show 7,100 households in the country who needed help securing accommodation last year had the main applicant listed as a care leaver.

In Ashfield, there were four households in this situation.

The figures relate to adults aged 18-25, who spent time in the care system and were looked after for at least one day after their 16th birthday.

Those flagged as having left care may also have been listed as an institution leaver, depending on the care setting they were in.

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Coun Tom Hollis, council cabinet member for council and social housing, said: “The council works hard to support residents who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, this includes those coming out of institutions such as hospital and prison and those leaving the care system.

“In partnership with other Nottinghamshire authorities, the council has specialist officers within the prison and health service to help identify and assist those leaving to no fixed abode.

“Likewise, there is also a countywide agreement in place to prioritise the housing needs of care leavers and each year the council rehouses and supports many young people who are leaving care.

The Care Leavers' Association estimates about one in 10 care leavers struggle to secure housing, with the remainder often living in unsuitable homes.

The Government said areas with higher numbers of care leavers at risk of homelessness had been receiving a share of £8.2 million to improve accommodation outcomes since 2018-19.

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