More hosts needed to support vulnerable young people including those leaving care

A lack of suitable accommodation for young people in Cardiff is leaving them at risk of homelessness

MORE hosts are needed in Cardiff to provide lodging for vulnerable young people including teenagers leaving care, according to the city council.

“We’re desperately trying to recruit more supportive lodgings carers as we’ve got a huge need for them,” said a spokesperson for the council’s foster care team.

“It’s a really good way of supporting young people who are homeless and haven’t got anywhere to go.

“It can be very rewarding because obviously you’re working with young people who are in need and you’re supporting them by putting them on a track towards work or further education.”

Under the scheme, young people between 16 and 21 are given a room to stay in, and provided with guidance and support by their hosts.

This might include help with finances, job applications, and developing basic skills such as learning how to cook or book appointments.

The type of young people using this service range from asylum seekers and those whose family relationships have broken down to others who have experienced street homelessness.

Supporting lodging is also used by those leaving care between the ages of 16 to 18, when there is no longer a legal requirement for local authorities to provide them with accommodation.

According to The Hygiene Bank, a charity set up to help fight hygiene poverty, about 11,000 young people between 16 to 18 leave care each year. Those leaving between 16 and 17 must be given “suitable accommodation” under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

However with limited options being made available to them, many care leavers struggle to find suitable accommodation.  

According to Home for Good, a fostering charity, around 20% of street homeless people in Wales are care leavers.

“It can be linked to the fact that there is so little housing choice for a certain age group,” said a spokesperson.

“To be placed in a hotel or an Airbnb when you are a vulnerable young person, it’s not appropriate. It’s much better to be in a supportive lodgings placement with adults who are supporting your needs.”

To become a supportive lodging carer, you must be over the age of 21 and have a spare room to offer.

A background assessment is required, involving a DBS check as well and a health check to ensure you are capable of providing support. The requirements are not as strict as those for potential foster carers.

“Essentially you need a spare room, but we accept absolutely anyone from all works of life,” said the council spokesperson.

“We want everybody and anybody, it doesn’t matter if you work, or you’re retired all we are looking for is a sound environment for our young people.

“It’s about providing somewhere safe where they are semi-supported with an adult that is trusted.”

Potential carers are given training by a specialist team before being allowed to host, and this continues throughout their time in the role.

Lodging carers receive a weekly payment of £189 from the council while the young person is staying with them.

“We offer a lot of training and there is support (offered to the hosts) from supportive lodgings colleagues. It is a nice community to be in, it is very well supported and looked after.

“We do physical visits and use social media to keep in contact with people.”

  • Anyone interested can apply through Cardiff Council’s website here or contact the Supportive Lodgings team on 029 2087 3797.