Homes are needed for young people leaving the care of Dorset Council.
An event was held in Dorchester last month at which representatives from the council told landlords that in exchange for letting out their property to a care leaver, they could expect a guaranteed deposit, rent in advance and regular, guaranteed rent payments for the first 12 months of tenancy. Care leavers receive statutory support until they are 21 and this can be increased to 25 depending on their circumstances.
Casey said: “Being a care leaver and in foster care has really shaped who I am, in a good way. It’s really helped me to be a better person. When you’ve had that life experience at such a young age it really does make you grow up quickly. I think that is a level of maturity that you might not find in other people of my age. I hope that landlords think about giving an opportunity for good accommodation to someone who might not have access to it.”
Currently, Dorset has 526 care leavers some looking to set up their first home, with practical and financial support, and moving-in kits provided by Dorset Council. Each tenant also has a dedicated worker who will liaise with the landlord to ensure the tenancy is a success. The council also equips the young care leavers with essential life skills such as tenancy readiness, being a good neighbour and budgeting.
Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Housing, said: “We received funding from Government in 2019 of £71,250 to explore how we can improve housing outcomes for care leavers. We hope this will also reduce the levels of homelessness in the county.
“We know one of the biggest barriers for young people leaving our care, is accessing good quality, affordable, long- term accommodation. There is a general shortage of rental properties in Dorset, which contributes to the overall number of people on the housing register. We really want to reach out to landlords to work with us to offer some of our care leavers a chance to become positive, long-term tenants who are settled in their own home.”
If you are a landlord and are interested in finding out more, please contact the Care Leavers Team on 01202 868257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a no obligation chat.
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