Exploring semi-independent accommodation for young adults transitioning out of care to improve individual outcomes and the flow of people through the system.
We’re supporting Fabric with grant funding of £13,574. Fabric is a semi-independent living provision that provides accommodation and support to young people aged 16 and 17 years old who are looked-after children or care leavers in Swansea, of which there were 511 cases in 2016.
Fabric assists young people to transition successfully into independence by supporting them to develop the required semi-independent living skills, engage in education, training or employment, support personal development and address any other related areas of their life.
Since opening in May 2016, Fabric has identified that a key challenge for young people is the lack of suitable 'move on' accommodation.
Young people currently living in Fabric are looking to move into a less supported environment, yet provision of this type is normally in the form of one bedroom flats, leaving young people open to social isolation and budgeting problems.
Fabric has anticipated a need for 'step down' provision, to provide a bridge between managed accommodation with staff on site and living independently .
Community accommodation managed by Fabric - available to both under and over 18s - would comprise of two-bed properties, meaning young people wouldn't be living alone but would get the opportunity to gain life skills before living independently.
Failing to provide young care leavers with the right kind of accommodation impacts on their ability to manage their living arrangements and puts them at risk of homelessness.
Between July and September 2016, there were 78 young people placed in bed and breakfast accommodation in Wales, according to the Welsh Government. Of these, 63 were aged between 16 and 17, and of those 63, 27 were accommodated by homelessness legislation and 36 by the local authority. The remaining 18 of the 78 were care leavers accommodated under homelessness legislation.
Fabric is working on improving the effect of its referrals, which means many more young people will be ready to move on to living more independently. Demand for ‘move on’ provision is high, while availability is low, meaning young people are remaining in costly accommodation.
Poor outcomes for children leaving care has a cost across all governmental organisations including health, criminal justice, welfare, social care and the housing sector.
Fabric believes that significant savings are possible by introducing community accommodation to its model. The savings associated with moving one young person to Fabric ‘move on’ accommodation, instead of residential semi-independent living, could save the local authority £2,497 per week, while improving outcomes for the young people involved.