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Founder Rich Grahame explains why these often-overlooked skills play a key role in both preventing homelessness and helping young people thrive, and the importance of finding partners who share your mission and values.

Rich Grahame, founder of Settle - Inclusive Economy Partnership

Rich Grahame, founder of Settle

Can you tell us a bit about your Inclusive Economy Partnership project. What are you doing and what do you want to change?

Settle is a charity that supports vulnerable young people moving into their first home. Our aim is to prevent youth homelessness by equipping at-risk young people with the skills they need to manage their money, home and health. One in three young people become homeless within two years of leaving care. We want to change this.

Since launching in 2015, we’ve worked with hundreds of vulnerable young people across 12 London boroughs. All our young people have managed to sustain their tenancies, and we work closely with social landlords to support young people at risk.

Who are you looking to reach specifically, and why?

Great resources are ploughed into temporarily housing care leavers and homeless young people in hostels.

Yet when their time comes to leave, their move is unsupported and abrupt. These young people are at a high risk of eviction and homelessness because:

  • They start living independently earlier than their peers - usually at the age of 18
  • They lack essential life skills and experience because of their age
  • They don’t have strong family networks to support them.

Social landlords pay £7,000 per eviction; and for each person who returns to homelessness, it costs the government £26,000 per year. The costs to the young person are also high, with homeless people dying an average of 30 years earlier than the general population.

One in three young people become homeless within two years of leaving care. We want to change this.

Rich Grahame, founder of Settle

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to financial inclusion for young people in our society today?

Despite the UK being a global leader in finance and technology, so many vulnerable young people are locked out from accessing the benefits of this. We think one of the biggest obstacles facing young people is that they aren’t equipped with the financial knowledge and skills to live independently. This leads to preventable problems snowballing fast, particularly for vulnerable groups.

Structurally, welfare reforms like Universal Credit are also having a damaging impact on vulnerable young people, trapping many in a vicious cycle of debt and poverty.

Tell us a bit about one of the partnerships you formed during the IEP. Who are you working with and what does this relationship look like?

We partnered with a philanthropic investment organisation during the IEP. We are working together to scale our Tenancy Mentoring Programme to support more than 500 vulnerable young people across London over the next three years. Our partner has facilitated further strategic partnerships with other organisations to further deepen our impact. Each partner brings their unique expertise and insight on the problem: whether that’s behaviour science, financial expertise or a track record of supporting vulnerable young people.

What impact has the IEP made on your work and goals?

The IEP has been a game changer for us. Through its support, network and funding, we’ve been able to partner with like-minded organisations that share our mission and values. We’re now in a position where we can have a significant impact on the problem we’re aiming to tackle.

The IEP has been a game changer for us. Through its support, network and funding, we’ve been able to partner with like-minded organisations that share our mission and values.

Rich Grahame, founder of Settle

What have you learned about how to build a successful partnership?

Social problems are complex and there are no silver bullets or quick wins. That’s why building successful partnerships is key to tackling big issues such as homelessness or financial capability. We’ve learned that building a successful partnership requires a shared mission, a spirit of openness and clarity around the value each partner is bringing to the table.

Where do you plan to take Settle from here?

Our aim is to scale our programme to support thousands of vulnerable young people over the next five years. We aim to do this by scaling our existing programmes and by developing new services that can increase our reach. We will scale our existing programmes by partnering with social landlords – both housing associations and local authorities. We will concentrate on London first before expanding to other major cities in the UK. No young person should have to endure the trauma of homelessness and it’s entirely possible that this could be a reality in the UK.

Find out more about Settle.

The Inclusive Economy Partnership (IEP) is a pioneering initiative changing the way that government, business and civil society work together to address some of society's toughest challenges. Between August 2017 and September 2018, Nesta worked with the Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to run the Inclusive Economy Partnership Accelerator, supporting 18 IEP grant winners across three challenge areas (financial inclusion, mental health in the workplace, and the transition to work for young people) to scale their solutions through meaningful partnership with business, civil society and government.