Supported lodgings offer young people a nurturing environment and should be promoted in order to cut the number of care leavers living in ‘unsuitable bed and breakfasts’, a report has found.
The first ever evaluation of Barnardo’s supported lodgings scheme, which was launched 10 years ago, showed it bridges the often difficult transition between leaving care and living independently.
The scheme involves vulnerable young people living with host families. At least one adult in the household is provided with training to provide practical and emotional support. Based on interviews with 14 young people and 20 host families, the evaluation found overwhelming support for the scheme. Care leavers viewed supported lodgings as a safer environment and a place to develop confidence and life skills.
Kate Sewel, the report’s author said: ‘The lived experiences of young people show supported lodgings offer a unique opportunity to master the basic skills they’ll need to look after themselves in future. With youth homelessness on the rise, it is important local authorities consider supported lodgings as a viable option when planning accommodation for vulnerable young people.’
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said: ‘If you’ve got a spare room, and would like to help transform a vulnerable young person’s future, then come forward and offer up your home and life experience as a supported lodgings host. Few things are more rewarding than equipping a young person with the basic living skills needed for adult life.
‘Welcoming a stranger into your home can be daunting, so Barnardo’s provides emotional support and training for all our hosts.’