Developing a local accommodation strategy
Social housing policy and provision varies regionally and it is therefore important that YOTs develop their own local accommodation strategies setting out their proposals for:
- preventing and reducing the likelihood of homelessness among young people who offend
- improving access to existing housing provision for those who become homeless or develop a housing need
- working in partnership with other agencies and housing providers to develop new accommodation provision.
This guidance is designed to assist YOTs with the development of their accommodation strategies by providing an outline of the areas that should be considered and included. The Youth Justice Board will be supporting YOTs in the development and implementation of their local accommodation strategies, YOTs should be looking to commence work on the development of local accommodation immediately.
Local strategies should develop three strands:
- mapping needs and supply
- implementing structures and systems
- influencing the local housing agenda.
Local accommodation strategy documents
There is no prescribed format for local YOT accommodation strategies, although we have developed several tools and templates that will assist YOTs with the process.
Use of these templates is not compulsory but is encouraged in the interests of developing consistency and enabling a coherent national picture to be built up over time.
Development of local strategies will be a key strand of the Board's overall accommodation strategy. Youth Justice Board regional managers and monitors will be involved in future monitoring of YOT accommodation plans.
Consultation is a key part of strategy development and YOTs should undertake consultation with key partner agencies, housing providers and young people prior to publishing their final strategy document. The Board does not intend to direct any consultation process and it is for individual YOTs to determine how effective consultation is best achieved locally. The size and scale of any consultation exercise will depend on resource availability, size and geographical location of the YOT and level of engagement with other partners and young people.
Consultation will need to involve all key stakeholders including health, housing, social services, education, RSLs, Connexions, community safety, anti-social behaviour units, crime and disorder partnerships and any other strategic organisations.
An essential element of the consultation process will be the involvement of service users – young offenders themselves. Whether this is achieved via questionnaires, focus groups, telephone surveys or other means will be for individual YOTs to determine. YOTs are required to consult both with young offenders who have a housing need and with those who have been rehoused.
Monitoring and review
Local accommodation strategies should be living documents and as such, subject to regular review and monitoring. Each strategy should have locally set strategic aims and objectives and a work plan for achieving these.
Strategies should be reviewed annually and progress monitored monthly or quarterly. YOTs should consider monitoring or having local targets on the numbers of:
- remands to custody on account of lack of accommodation
- young people leaving custody each month without accommodation to go to
- young offenders rehoused as statutorily homeless each month
- young offenders aged 16-17 in housing need receiving/not receiving necessary Child in Need or housing assessments each month
- young people accessing supported housing each month
- young people accessing independent tenancies each month
- homelessness cases prevented by early intervention each month
- young people remaining in unsuitable accommodation each month.