Croydon care leavers will have access to more housing thanks to a new partnership involving the council, a national charitable trust and specialist young people’s charity CAYSH.
Andrews Charitable Trust (ACT) has this week chosen to invest its latest grant into buying and leasing a new property for 10 years to CAYSH, a Croydon charitable organisation which will then house three or four young people aged 18-25 at a time who are leaving the council’s care services.
The charities have now begun searching for a three- or four-bedroom house in the borough that can be converted into suitable accommodation, with a budget of up to £500,000. This property will become home to care leavers who are ready for this final step to independence and CAYSH will provide employment-focused support. The council’s Gateway service will also help the residents to improve their independence, maximise their job prospects and avoid debt.
ACT has already invested in similar housing in Sutton and Bristol, and the council hopes that the new Croydon property will become available from this autumn.
The council has around 700 care leavers whom it supports into accommodation, from filling in forms and providing references to their personal adviser finding an approved landlord or housing provider. This can also involve offering care leavers a month’s rent in advance and deposit to get them into appropriate accommodation, as well giving help finding furniture.
Julia Pitt, interim director of the council’s Gateway service, said: “Gateway staff support residents to increase their independence, and we are grateful to ACT for this investment because it will help Croydon care leavers at a crucial stage in their lives. This funding will hugely benefit Croydon young people over the next 10 years, and the fact we have been chosen over councils nationwide is a real compliment to staff who work hard to support borough residents.”
Siân Edwards, Andrews Charitable Trust’s Executive Director, said: “ACT is delighted to be working with CAYSH and the council to deliver this project in Croydon. In addition to providing a new home for young care leavers, we intend for the local branches of Andrews Property Group to develop a long-term relationship with the project, and hopefully for some of the young tenants to take up employment schemes with us. We also hope that the project will encourage other local businesses to support vulnerable young people by showing how business, charity and government can work together.”
Ann Tighe, chief executive of CAYSH, said: “Affordable accommodation in Croydon for young people who don’t have access to the ‘bank of mum and dad’ is a real issue and acts as a barrier to young care leavers being able to live independently without running up debts through rent arrears.
“The inspiration of ACT in starting this project along with the investment by the council in supporting CAYSH to make a real difference shows real foresight. Our collective community responsibility goes wider than just this one house, and we hope more businesses will support initiatives like this which enable young Croydon people with little or no family support to gain employment and remain living in their home borough. We are really pleased to be working in partnership with ACT and the council to ensure that the young people of Croydon have an opportunity to fulfil their potential and play a positive role in the community.”