Calderdale Borough Council - Prevention strategy for 16/17 year old homeless presentations

The numbers of 16/17 yr. olds requiring emergency homeless accommodation has increased over a number of years. Despite having developed planned supported accommodation pathways for young people in Calderdale, the need for emergency accommodation is still high. In line with HRA and the need to reduce this number we need to consider how we are able to prevent young people, families other agencies in looking towards homeless accommodation as the remedy for a myriad of other related issues. Therefore collaborative working, a clear prevention message and the breaking down of traditional cultural working practices is required for Calderdale to attempt to have a proactive rather than reactive approach to youth homelessness.

The challenge

To reduce the numbers of young people aged between 16-17 requiring emergency homeless accommodation. To have a sustainable message and approach looking towards prevention strategies.

The solution

To formulate and provide a borough wide prevention strategy for this group.

The impact (including cost savings/income generated if applicable)

The impact is for a borough wide message to cascade into communities, agencies and young people on the availability of services and support in which the borough is looking to support young people and families in staying together where this is safe to do so. This will have cost savings in terms of the requirement for temporary accommodation to accommodate such young people and its associated costings in terms of housing benefit etc.

How is the new approach being sustained?

Through networking, possibility of a prevention ad campaign led by the local authority, to get buy in from its third sector partners and for regular review and updates linked with national policies and practice regarding youth homelessness.

Lessons learned

That pulling together agencies even through one organisation, can have its challenges. Polices and protocols which exist are currently difficult to change and I underestimated the resource needed to ensure effective partnership working, particularly in time.  For example, having a joint agreed 16/17 yr. protocol in relation to youth homelessness was a challenge which I did not envisage to take up so much time in terms of agreements to the document and who needed to sign this off as a working local authority document.

Contact: Haydon Coventry. 01422 264321