West Sussex youth homelessness scheme to continue

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A successful scheme that has helped 360 potentially homeless young people in West Sussex over the past year has been extended thanks to funding from West Sussex County Council.

The youth homeless prevention scheme went live in May 2011.

Led by the County Council’s Youth Services team, it also involves Children’s Services at the county council, the seven District and Borough Councils, and supported housing providers including Stoneham and Sanctuary Housing Associations and Sussex Central YMCA.

Cabinet member for children and families Peter Evans said: “Thanks to this new service, more than half of the young people helped over the past year were able to return home or to their family. Where this was not possible, the service worked to identify other measures such as supported accommodation to ensure they weren’t homeless.”

As a result of the success of the partnership scheme, funding has been confirmed by the county council for a further two years.

One of the key factors in the scheme is the use of Quick Access beds in young people’s housing support services. They are available for up to two weeks while a careful assessment is made and longer term solutions are looked at. This also avoids the need to place young people in unsuitable accommodation where they may be more at risk. There is also a strong emphasis on supporting access to education or employment, a common factor in youth homelessness.

Any young person wanting general information and advice can call into the county Council’s Information Shops, available across West Sussex, or visit the website.