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Reducing homelessness among young adults

Tackling the transition to independence is a complex and challenging process for most young people. For those leaving local authority care this process can be even more problematic. Research from Northumbria University has found that people from care are over-represented in the North East’s homeless population. This has resulted in a new system at Newcastle City Council to identify and support the young people most at risk of homelessness.

Dr Harding and his colleagues, Dr Mary Laing and Adele Irving, have been involved in a series of research projects funded by Newcastle City Council and Changing Lives, a regional charity working with homeless and other socially excluded people. Their work has helped to shape the delivery of homeless services in Newcastle.

In response to recommendations from the EUROCITIES Peer Review of homelessness services - for which Dr Harding was an advisor- the City Council decided in October 2012 to incorporate a more substantial housing needs’ assessment into the Pathways Plan. This is the transition plan drawn up by social workers and young people around the time of their sixteenth birthday. The new assessment uses a red, amber, green system (RAG) to assess the likelihood of a successful transition to independent living.

When someone is identified as at risk, or red, the Council now has two members of staff dedicated to supporting these high-risk young people to prevent them ending up on the streets. So far this system has identified 30 young people as high risk and they are being supported to help them to successfully make the transition to independence.

“Dr Harding has been central to improving the effectiveness of services for vulnerable people,” says Neil Munslow, service manager for Active Inclusion at Newcastle City Council. “We have worked closely on a number of projects that relate to homelessness and the development of preventative approaches, providing better outcomes for vulnerable people and increased value for the public purse.  The common denominator in this work is looking at how partnerships can develop joint pathways and thereby intervene earlier to prevent crisis.”

For more details on this research please read our Partnerships Case Study 'Newcastle City Council Youth Offending Team: Evidenced Based Practice'


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