Researchers: Jo Dixon with Jenny Lee and Jade Ward (SPSW)
Funder: Stoke-on-Trent Council
Duration: June 2015 to March 2016
The transition from care to independent living for young people leaving foster and residential care is known to be difficult. Many care leavers take on the responsibilities of independent living aged 16 -21, much younger in comparison to young people in general who remain at home until their late twenties. Those more vulnerable care leavers embark upon this transition with the legacy of difficulties and estrangement from family, ill prepared for the challenges of managing a home, budgeting and coping with the sense of isolation that can come with living alone and remote from social and family networks.
The House Project is an innovative approach to addressing these issues. It will prepare, upskill and support a group of 10 care leavers to increase their chance of positive housing outcomes post care. This involves setting up the first UK housing co-operative for care leavers using housing stock from Stoke Council.
Young people involved in running the co-operative will receive support with independent living skills and their education, employment and training opportunities.
The evaluation involves understanding how the co-operative works in practice and will focus on the experiences and outcomes for young people participating in the project.
The research will be carried out using qualitative and quantitative research methods and will incorporate an economic component. We will use a participatory approach to the research. This will include involving care-experienced young people as research advisors, to contribute to the design of interview schedules and interpretation and dissemination of findings.
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Increasing the number of care leavers in 'settled, safe accommodation'
Care leavers are often disadvantaged in their journey to adulthood.