Includem is supporting Scottish Housing Day today to raise awareness of the critical role that housing plays in improving outcomes for young adults.
For some young people moving into their own home is a huge personal achievement, but it is also a scary prospect, filled with hurdles and challenges. This move, which should be a positive experience, often compounds the difficulties they are already facing and can lead to isolation and poverty, often resulting in homelessness.
Includem works with young people during this transition to support them in practical ways – help with week to week budgeting, thinking about what basics they need to buy or helping them learn how to make meals for themselves. We also support them to change some of the underlying behaviours which might put their accommodation at risk – like alcohol and drug misuse and offending.
Our aim is for young people to have a better life and to realise their full potential. For too many young people housing is just another set of challenges. We need to do more to support young people so that their house is their home – a safe, secure and sustainable base from which to get on with the rest of their lives.
One of the young people Includem has supported, Leah, illustrates this point.
Includem started supporting Leah because of persistent offending related to alcohol abuse. She had been evicted from her own flat and was living in a one-bedroom flat with her mum and her mum’s partner.
Leah had aspirations to find employment and move back into her own flat. After building a trusting relationship with Leah, her Includem Project Worker started to focus on the factors driving her offending behaviour, focusing on her alcohol misuse. They also worked on setting smaller, achievable goals for the future which she could work towards and see progress being made.
It was easy to recognise that the instability of her temporary accommodation was one of the major drivers for her problematic drinking and offending. Includem guided her to present as homeless when she had nowhere else to go and provided support when she was in a number of temporary accommodation placements.
After focused work using Includem’s ‘Independent Living’ module she successfully moved into her own flat. She engaged well with work around budgeting and understanding her responsibilities as a tenant, to ensure this placement was sustainable.
After fourteen months of support Leah has significantly reduced her alcohol use, is living in her own, permanent tenancy, has completed a training programme and has applied to college to pursue her chosen career.