Young adult carers’ housing needs must be part of a Carers Action Plan
In partnership with Quaker Social Action and Commonweal, Move on Up provides housing alongside empathetic and specialist support for young adult carers. As Move on Up comes to its scheduled end in July, Lois Gallagher, Move on Up Housing and Support Manager, highlights the importance of ensuring the housing needs of young adult carers are increasingly recognised and addressed.
We would like to use our learning from Move on Up to address the housing needs of young adult carers.
For the past seven years Move on Up has supported and housed young adult carers aged 18-25, who because of their caring role, have missed out on certain opportunities. By providing supportive housing, we have helped them gain independence, pursue further education, gain employment or reach other goals that are important to them.
New All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for young carers and young adult carers
For the past year, Move on Up has benefited from belonging to the newly formed Young Carers Alliance, facilitated by Carers Trust, which now has over 160 member organisations and 300 individual members. Carers Trust has also been instrumental in launching a new APPG for young carers and young adult carers – meetings of which Move on Up staff have been attending.
Review of Carers Action Plan
The APPG is chaired by Paul Blomfield, Labour MP, and other members represent a wide range of politicians from different parties and both houses. It is currently undertaking a review of the progress of the Carers Action Plan, which was published in 2018 and had a one-year progress review in 2019. We are contributing to the review by sharing our feedback based on our seven-year experience of working with young adult carers.
Move on Up’s recommendations
The 2018 Carers Action Plan did not address the housing needs of young carers and young adult carers. For any future Carers Action Plan, we would like to see a set of actions put in place recognising and addressing the housing needs of young adult carers. These actions would include:
a) making housing a key part of the Young Carers Transition Assessment (this is a statutory assessment that young carers have the right to have carried out with them before they reach 18, to help them plan for their future);
b) enabling the carers sector and the housing sector to link up and work more effectively together; and
c) lobbying for young adult carers to be listed as being in priority need in housing law.
More about Move on Up’s residents
Many of our young adult carers came to Move on Up from homelessness. The toll of caring for a parent from an early age placed a growing strain on family relationships until living together was unbearable. Others came to Move on Up from their family home, after recognising that remaining there was putting their mental health and life opportunities at risk. A large proportion of our residents have continued to care for their family member, as independent housing has given them a place to rest and to explore their separate identity in a way which enables them to continue with their valued caring role, albeit in a different way.
Since Move on Up opened to clients in 2017, we have received 142 referrals of young adult carers living in London and in need of affordable housing. We have provided 35 young adult carers with essential accommodation. This shows that housing is a key need for young adult carers, and yet as far as we are aware it remains a subject that is rarely discussed by national organisations and policy makers. Our experience shows that this needs to change.
Move on Up has shown that independent housing for young adult carers is a key component in enabling them to reach their goals, including improving their relationship with their cared-for person. Over the next few months, we will continue to share our learning, so do look out for regular updates from us.