Home News Housing ideas wanted for young people impacted by care, mental health and education 
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Lauren Aronin

Lauren is the Communications Officer at Commonweal Housing

Housing ideas wanted for young people impacted by care, mental health and education 

Commonweal Housing is inviting not-for-profits to devise new and imaginative housing and support model ideas targeted at specific injustices facing young people, with grant funding available for the most original ideas.  

The Call for New Ideas programme – a funding mechanism designed to help develop multi-year housing pilot projects – invites not-for-profits to submit new housing and support model ideas to Commonweal. Funding is available for up-to four organisations who propose the most imaginative models, with each able to apply for between £5,000-£10,000. 

Upon receipt of the funding, organisations use the money to undertake further research to establish the viability of their proposed housing and support solution. If the feasibility study proves successful, Commonweal works with its partners to develop the idea into a housing pilot project running for up-to 10 years, which the applicant organisations manage and operate, with Commonweal purchasing properties to test the model in full. 

Now in its fifth iteration, Call for New Ideas: Young People focuses on injustices facing young people with difficult transitions into adulthood – one of Commonweal’s three policy focus areas.  

Research from the homelessness membership charity Homeless Link, commissioned by Commonweal, identified several groups of young people as overlooked or underserved by homelessness services.  

Following consultation between Commonweal and Homeless Link off the back of the report, the Call for New Ideas is exclusively focused on models aimed at supporting young people over the age of 18 who have had:  

  • Experience of the care system  
  • Experience with mental health problems or are neurodivergent  
  • Difficult experiences in the education system, particularly those who faced serial exclusion 

The research found strong links between poor mental health and young people becoming homeless, with nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of young people experiencing homelessness reporting mental health problems. While there are similar links between neurodivergence and homelessness, there is a lack of significant lack of data relating to this cohort. 

Nearly one in 10 young people leaving care become homeless in the two years after they turn 18. In addition, young adults with experience of the care system are also more vulnerable to poor mental health and involvement with the criminal justice system.  

Young people who have been excluded from school significantly underperform in school exams and are more likely to not be in employment, education, or training (NEET) after school, resulting in long-term impacts that can contribute to homelessness. 

Applications are open from 27 March 2024 and close at 5pm on Friday 19 April 2024

Amy Doyle, Deputy Chief Executive at Commonweal Housing, said: “The findings from Homeless Link’s report raise alarms about the gaps in housing and support for young people who have experience of the care system, mental health problems, or difficult educational experiences. In response, Commonweal is now calling on frontline organisations to get creative and come to us with new and imaginative ways housing can help support vulnerable young people affected by these injustices.”  

“We welcome ideas from charities eager to trial and test their housing ideas. Commonweal has over 15 years of experience supporting partners to deliver pilot projects that test ways housing can address injustices facing marginalised groups. Whether you have an initial lightbulb idea or a more developed initiative, we encourage organisations to get in touch and apply.” 

Alongside a focus on youth homelessness, the charity’s work operates across two additional priority themes. These are: the criminal justice system and the migration, asylum and human trafficking systems.  

Prospective applicants can get in touch with Commonweal Housing to discuss potential ideas and ask any questions at apply@commonweal.org.uk   

Full information and an Application Form can be found at: https://www.commonwealhousing.org.uk/partner-with-us/call-for-new-ideas 

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