Young people cannot stay in supported accommodation indefinitely. Time spent there will vary from person to person, but ideally within two years a young person will have gained sufficient skills and knowledge to consider living independently, either in move-on accommodation or external supported or unsupported housing.
Some young people who are ready to move on may still require some level of support, for example through the structure of supported housing and/or floating support.This page looks at continuing support that may be available to young people to prepare them for and assist them in their transition to becoming fully independent. Support will gradually decrease as confidence and skills improve.
Not all young people will be ready to move on from supported to independent accommodation after two years. Some young people with complex needs may need longer - making them to leave too soon may be setting them up to fail. In setting limits to stays, supported accommodation providers should allow for flexibility when:
Local authorities and their commissioned partners should have in place protocols for young people moving on from supported to general needs accommodation. From the start of their time in supported accommodation, young people should be made aware of their moving-on options, and part of the purpose of accommodation with support will be to provide them not only with soft skills for living independently, but also an action plan to do so.
These programmes can include topics such as:
There may be criteria for access to move-on accommodation. It may only be available to young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, or, there may be the requirement that young people have successfully maintained a tenancy in supported housing for at least six months, have no rent arrears, and no history of anti-social behaviour.
Some providers of move-on accommodation such as local authorities and housing associations may insist on a pre-tenancy programme being completed before renting to young people. Programmes for young people who will rent in the private sector are more likely to be optional, but training providers may have arrangements with local housing providers that give priority to young people willing to attend training courses.
Move-on accommodation can provide a young person with their first tenancy agreement, often in a shared house, but with regular visits from keyworkers and continuing advice and support on related issues such as benefits, work and training, health and well-being. It can act as the bridge between supported housing and completely independent living, providing the experience of living independently with the safety net of a support network and easy access to advice and assistance.
Included in moving-on support will be access to information on local properties for rent, and on landlords who participate in access schemes for young people.
Move-on training programmes, often led by peer volunteers, can assist young people in gaining the specific skills needed to manage their own homes, such as basic DIY, how to access services and arrange utilities, how to be a good tenant and neighbour etc.
Floating support provides assistance, support and advice to people who need some help to gain independent living skills. It is usually provided directly to a young person in their new home.
Floating support can include any of the following:
The support is usually reviewed after six months, and can be extended for up to two years. With the agreement of the young person, there will usually be a period of less intensive support, which is gradually withdrawn until the ceases. The young person will also be encouraged to ask for help again in the future if required
Some local authorities and partner organisations will additionally offer targeted floating support for certain client groups with additional support needs, such as adults with mental health issue or young people with a history of offending.
See Continuing tenancy support for more information.
When it is time to leave the move-on accommodation, to general needs accommodation, young people can rent in the social rented or private rented sector.
In order to find a council home, young people can apply to local social housing providers, such as their local council and housing associations. The system of choice-based lettings should also be fully explained to young people, as this requires them to bid rather than wait on a housing list. There may be access schemes available to assist young people - see the section on the social rented sector for further details.
Given the limited number of social rented homes in most areas, there will be more choice of rented properties in the private rented sector.
However, there may be financial and other barriers to accessing this accommodation. Local authorities and commissioned partners may have local schemes available to assist access for young people - for more information, see the section on the private rented sector.
During and after time spent in move-on accommodation, young people should be able to access ongoing advice and information in support of independent living. This should include:
Enabling better access to health services is another key aspect of helping young people live independently. New young tenants should be assisted to access local health and other support services, to support and enhance their physical and mental well-being, as well as to address any drug and alcohol dependence or misuse.
Young people may also need practical and financial support to move into their own homes. They may need help finding deposits, or furnishing their homes. For more information, see the sections on rent deposits and support when setting up home.