Young people preparing to leave care in Manchester will get the opportunity to move into their own home, through a new programme announced today (12th September).
Designed to help care leaders through the transition from childhood to adulthood, The House Project will see young people given an empty property that they can refurbish and then move into.
Care leavers will be able to continue living within the scheme for as long as they choose, with their rent and utility bills paid by Manchester city council until they reach the age of 18.
Young people on the scheme are to be supported by a team from The House Project to ensure they have all the practical and emotional help they may need to provide them with the skills to make the house their home and to maintain their tenancy – supporting around 10 care leavers under the age of 18 at any one time.
Housing providers in the city will also partner the programme, working closely with the young people to help refurbish their own properties.
Cllr Garry Bridges, Manchester city council’s executive member for children and schools, said: “We’re determined to ensure no young person leaving care in Manchester falls between the cracks as they move into adulthood.
“We want to give them the best support possible to become independent and successful young adults, to be happy, and to achieve their full potential in life.
“Living alone for the first time is a daunting prospect for any of us, but particularly so for a care leaver who will often do this at a much earlier age than most young people and without the support of family members that other young people usually have.
“The House Project will enable them to move into their own home whilst getting a bespoke package of support to develop the practical and emotional skills they need to live independently and to make their house a home.”
According to national statistics, a third of care leavers experience homelessness within two years of leaving care; while they are four times more likely to have mental health issues than the general population.
The House Project was developed against this backdrop, and a successful pilot in Stoke in 2015 saw 10 young care leavers manage the refurbishment of empty properties.
Mark Warr, CEO of The House Project, added: “We’re delighted to be working with Manchester city council, who are committed to improving the lives, experiences, and outcomes of young people leaving care.
“This partnership supports the rollout and scalability of the DfE’s [Department for Education] Social Care innovation programme, which is starting to change the way in which young people in care are supported to transition into independence.
“Young people benefit from their involvement in the local house project, the relationships and support of their peer group, and the real and practical support to enter the world of work.
“With a house which they can call their home, young people will have the opportunity to succeed.”