Landlords across Dorset are being invited to join a partnership with the council to help provide quality accommodation for young care leavers.
Dorset currently has 526 care leavers with many looking to set up their first home - assisted with practical and financial support as well as moving-in kits from Dorset Council.
Each care leaver has a dedicated care worker who helps liaise with landlords to ensure each tenancy is successful whilst the council helps provide care leavers with skills around budgeting and ‘tenancy readiness’.
Dorset Council held an event in Dorchester in which private landlords were encouraged to work with the council in order to ensure care leavers were able to make a smooth transition.
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.”
Care leavers are eligible to receive statutory support from their local authority until they are 21 and this can be increased to 25 depending on their circumstances.
Care leaver, 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.”
If you are a landlord and interested in finding out more, contact Dorset Council on 01202 868257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.