An innovative pilot scheme has been launched to teach young people in Edinburgh the skills they need to stay off the streets and to find work.
Contracts are to be awarded to 12 charities by the City of Edinburgh Council as part of an 18 month pilot to help people aged between 16 and 25 achieve stability by preventing homelessness and finding employment.
Members of the Finance and Resources Committee approved the Young People’s Services Foyer Approach report, which will focus on helping the most vulnerable youngsters to gain vital life skills.
The “foyer approach” was developed in France as a way of tackling the problems associated with youth homelessness and unemployment. The Edinburgh system will bring together housing support and help with finding jobs in a streamlined approach for the first time.
A continued need to address homelessness and young people has been identified, despite the number of 16 and 17 year olds affected by it in Edinburgh dropping from 270 to 145 between 2011/12 and 2013/14. The amount of 16-24 year olds assessed as not having a permanent place to live remained around 1,000 per year during the same period.
The report was referred from the Health, Social Care and Housing Committee in November 2014, which agreed to a pilot after considering options to provide homeless prevention services for young people.
It complements a pilot scheme that was launched in October by the Council and the Bethany Christian Trust, Edinburgh Cyrenian Trust, Foursquare and CHAI (Community Help and Advice Initiative).
Councillor Cammy Day, the Council’s Housing Leader, said:
Any one of us could become homeless at some point with devastating consequences, which is why the Capital Coalition agreed to protect funding for commissioned services aimed at helping those affected.
Our work is focused on preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place, and combining this with giving the most vulnerable the basic skills that they need to find work is an excellent idea. It will give those in need a real chance to lead fulfilling, happy and healthy lives.
Kate Polson, Chief Executive of Rock Trust and member of SHAPE, said:
The Council and the third sector organisations involved in the new pilot approach have the same aim – we want to prevent young people from becoming homeless and ensure that they enter adulthood with a stable home and a job. We welcome having the opportunity to develop and trial new approaches which could make a real difference to the vulnerable young people in the city.