A spokesman for Oldham Council said, under current homelessness legislation, young people who were formerly in care aged 18-20 are automatically in ‘priority need’ – this is not guaranteed for those aged 21-24, unless they are found to be vulnerable.
Furthermore, councils may consider whether young people have made themselves intentionally homeless through their own deliberate act or omission – thus limiting the support they will be entitled to.
By agreeing that all care leavers under the age of 25 are in priority need and not looking at whether they have become homeless intentionally, there will be a duty to provide temporary and permanent accommodation for all these young people, which council bosses say could decrease the chances of care leavers becoming homeless as they get older will decrease
The spokesman said the council does not have to adopt this approach by law, but sees it as its ‘duty of care’ when it comes to supporting young people as the Corporate Parent.
Cllr Hannah Roberts, cabinet member for Housing, said: ‘We know that care leavers face unique and difficult challenges as they grow into adults.
‘It is our duty to support these young people, some of which have faced tough challenges early in life, especially when it comes to housing as everyone deserves a warm and decent roof over their heads.’
Cllr Amanda Chadderton, cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: ‘As a council we’re committed to taking as much pressure away from care leavers and ensuring they have independent and healthy lives.
‘We take our role as Corporate parents seriously which is why we have put in place a wide package of support to help care leavers live a healthy and independent life – this includes not having to worry about becoming homeless.’
This latest measure is part of Oldham’s Care Leavers offer which includes free prescription charges, council tax exemption, discounted leisure passes and more for those up to the age of 25.
Sam Coupe, is part of the local Children in Care Council that helped develop the support package. The 23-year-old said: ‘This extra support means a lot to care leavers. It’s good that the council is listening to us and taking our ideas on board.
‘When you leave care, it’s very daunting as you don’t have or earn much money. You have to live on a tight budget, so every little helps.’