Work skills project to prevent youth homelessness

Having a job can prevent homelessness. Picture: Johnston Press
Having a job can prevent homelessness. Picture: Johnston Press
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A PILOT scheme to tackle homelessness will teach young people the skills they need to stay off the streets and find work.

Twelve charities have been hired by the city council to take part in the 18-month project to help people aged between 16 and 25 find stability in their lives by avoiding homelessness and finding employment.

This scheme will give those in need a real chance to lead fulfilling, happy and healthy lives

Cammy Day

The scheme will focus on helping the most vulnerable youngsters gain vital life skills.

Housing leader Councillor Cammy Day said: “Any one of us could become homeless at some point with devastating consequences, which is why the Capital Coalition agreed to protect funding for commissioned services aimed at helping those affected.

“Our work is focused on preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place, and combining this with giving the most vulnerable the basic skills that they need to find work is an excellent idea. It will give those in need a real chance to lead fulfilling, happy and healthy lives.”

Progress has been made to reduce the number of young people becoming homeless in the Capital. The number of 16 and 17-year-olds finding themselves homeless dropped from 270 to 145 a year between 2011/12 and 2013/14.

However, the number of 16 to 24-year-olds assessed as homeless has remained around 1000 a year. The council said there remained a need for specific services to prevent and resolve homelessness for young people in the city.

The pilot scheme follows the “foyer approach” developed in France, bringing together housing support and help with finding jobs in a streamlined approach for the first time.

Five contracts worth a total of £466,798 a year to provide visiting housing support to young people during the 18-month pilot are being awarded to Barnardo’s, Dean and Cauvin Trust, Link Living, Places for People and the Rock Trust.

Another six contracts, valued at £724,003, to provide hostel accommodation are going to Barnardo’s, Four Square (two contracts), Places for People, the Rock Trust and Y-People.

And the Edinburgh City Youth Café is getting a £16,370 contract for group work with young people.

The latest initiative complements a pilot scheme that was launched in October by the council and the Bethany Christian Trust, Edinburgh Cyrenian Trust, Foursquare and CHAI (Community Help and Advice Initiative).

Kate Polson, chief executive of Rock Trust and member of SHAPE, said: “The council and the third sector organisations involved in the new pilot approach have the same aim – we want to prevent young people from becoming homeless and ensure that they enter adulthood with a stable home and a job.

“We welcome having the opportunity to develop and trial new approaches which could make a real difference to the vulnerable young people in the city.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com