QSA's innovative Move On Up project is providing crucial support to young adult carers, according to an independent evaluation.
Move On Up is a shared housing project that combines independent housing and up to 24 months’ tailored support for young adult carers aged 18-24.
The project is having a positive impact on residents, including providing respite from caring, improved relationships with family members and improved outcomes in learning and employment, finds the evaluation, conducted by Learning and Work Institute.
The evaluation highlights that young adult carers are at a higher risk of becoming homeless or being in insecure living arrangements, yet previous research has found that no other housing project specifically for this group exists. Young adult carers are at greater risk of high tension and break down in family relationships, and many will not have the financial resources or the social relationships with peers needed to make a positive move out of the family home.
Dan*, a resident of the project says: “I was lucky to hear about Move On Up from a friend. I’ve had a good experience. They make sure you are alright. Make sure you’re on top of things. It’s good to know your next step, your next move. I’ve got my priorities sorted.
“Living with two people with caring experiences is fun. We get along together. It’s so cool to hear their stories, to know you’re not the only one. Yeah I went through a hard time – but I’m sitting next to people who understand. We can bounce off each other and stay strong.”
Typically, according to the findings, housing services do not consider caring as a contributing factor to youth homelessness, and carers’ services are able to offer little in the way of housing support to young adult carers. It also states that the housing needs of young adult carers are not sufficiently addressed in national policy.
Two years on from the launch of the Government’s Carers’ Action Plan, a cross-government programme of work to support carers in England, QSA and partners Commonweal Housing are calling for the Plan to be refreshed and include reference to the housing needs of young adult carers.
The evaluation highlights that other agencies, such as local authorities, and existing housing providers and carers’ organisations should also be taking into account young adult carers’ housing needs. The project is currently run out of four properties located in Hackney, Bethnal Green, Stoke Newington and Tottenham. The report states that there is demand for similar housing projects which address the housing needs of young adult carers in other areas.
A full list of recommendations is included in the report.
Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute said: “Young adult carers make a huge contribution to their families and society, but research shows that they do not get fair access to the opportunities they deserve and often do not achieve their potential in learning, work and life. Move On Up is a unique and ambitious pilot project.
“Our evaluation shows that shared housing, alongside specialist support, can help provide a pathway to independence and give young adult carers the opportunity to lead full and active lives. The Government must ensure young adult carers’ housing needs are met, along with improving access to learning and work, including by reviewing the Carers’ Action Plan.”
Judith Moran, Chief Executive of Quaker Social Action, says: “Back in 2015, we were researching whether there was a distinctive group in society whose housing needs were not being met, we started thinking hard about young adult carers. At a pivotal moment in their lives, young adult carers can be held back by the burden of their caring responsibilities. Whilst peers start degrees and careers, they have had little time to think about their own lives.
“Move On Up has been leading the way in providing a supportive space for young adult carers to plan for the future. We are so proud that we were able to set up this project, with critical support from Commonweal Housing and our investors. We hope the learning inspires a wider conversation about the housing and support needs of this overlooked group.”
Ashley Horsey, Chief Executive of Commonweal Housing says: "Many young adult carers have a home, but their caring responsibility may mean living in that home is stifling their independence. Too often support only comes once they have reached crisis point and ended up homeless. Move On Up is having a positive impact on this much overlooked group - now Government must ensure policy on housing and social care come together so that young adult carers across the nation do not fall through the cracks.”
*not his real name
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