Support plus security will lead to stability
Story by Kirsty Ellis – Llamau’s Business Development Director
I know I can’t speak for everyone when I say this but I’m sure, like me, you were far from perfect when growing up.
Like me, you probably made some questionable choices at times and probably some bad decisions, but like me, you probably grew up with a strong support network around you, where the threat of losing your home was never up for discussion.
Sadly, we know that’s not the case for so many young people across Wales. The ‘questionable’ choices they make, which should be embraced as part of their adolescence, often lead to problems at home, resulting in homelessness or going down other negative pathways in life that can lead to homelessness.
At Llamau, we know that when a young person has the right support around them paired with the safety and security of a home that they have chosen to live in, it will result in stability.
This is why I strongly believe Housing First for Youth is such a positive step forward for Wales. The guiding principles of the project ensure there’s a balance between the holistic open-ended support a young person needs, coupled with their own permanent home where they can feel safe and secure. Experts within both housing and support services are able to work to a young person’s strengths, whilst the young person can feel confident that neither the support they’re receiving nor the home they’re living in will be taken away from them.
Over the past year Llamau has opened Housing First for Youth projects in Swansea, RCT and Merthyr, with plans to begin running a project in Caerphilly currently underway. Although this approach has been successfully introduced in other countries, these projects are amongst the first of their kind in Wales. Across the three projects that are currently up and running, we’re supporting 20 young people, which has been no easy feat considering the complications that Covid has caused.
In spite of the obstacles Covid has presented, the Housing First teams have continued to offer the holistic support to the young people referred and accepted onto the scheme, adapting their ways of communicating and connecting with the young people to ensure they know the support they need is still there for them every step of the way; pandemic or no pandemic. It was lovely to read how Coastal’s Housing Officer, Hannah McGillivray felt about the young people she’s supporting and how things have progressed with Housing First.
Having a safe and permanent home is something that all of us should, without question, be entitled to, and Housing First for Youth is already making that a possibility for young people who have often never dreamed that it’s a possibility. I think we’re all looking forward to seeing just what’s possible beyond the challenges of the pandemic.