Young people who have moved into their own homes for the first time may struggle with sustaining a tenancy. Support from the local authority and partner organisations will be vital in helping them to stay in their new homes.
Once a new tenancy has been taken up, levels of support can vary depending on the needs of the tenant, from floating support to intensive tenancy support. Some can also be tailored to address specific needs such as drug or alcohol issues, HIV and other health problems, or be aimed at members of a minority ethnic community.
Young people must be supported to access the private rented sector, for example through rent deposit/guarantee schemes and cashless bond schemes, and once they have their tenancies, to access any benefits or other financial support available.
They may also be able to access a local authority homeless prevention fund - money from this can be used to pay one-off housing costs such as tenancy renewal fees or a small amount of arrears, where such a payment would allow a tenancy to be renewed or sustained, and without which a young person could become homeless.
Young people who are unemployed or on a low wage may be eligible for housing-related benefit.
Young people claiming housing-related benefit may also be eligible for a discretionary housing payment (DHP). Criteria for these will vary, and the amount given will usually be for a short time only. Further information is available from Shelter.
Young people claiming benefits may be eligible for budgeting loans, which must be paid back. Further information is available from Shelter.
Local authorities may provide support on a discretionary basis. Each authority will have its own eligibility criteria.
Floating support provides assistance, support and advice to people who need some help to gain independent living skills. For young people moving on from supported accommodation into their own tenancy, it is a critical part of the resettlement package. Floating support can also be offered to prevent homelessness, for example, for young people who have been living independently for some time but are at risk of losing their accommodation.
Floating support can be general and ‘light-touch’ or bespoke and designed to meet the specific needs of a young person.
Floating support is usually provided directly to a young person in their new home, and can include any of the following:
For most (though not all) young people, the support will gradually reduce as the skills and confidence to live independently are developed.
Intensive tenancy support can help particularly vulnerable young people (such as ex-offenders or care leavers) to better sustain their new tenancies.
Intensive support is typically designed around an individual’s needs, for example mental health issues, debt problems, antisocial behaviour, drug or alcohol problems, and can also include liaising with partner agencies to find the most appropriate solution for the young person.
Ongoing advice and information should include: