An innovative new project is providing crucial support to young adult carers, according to an independent evaluation, published today. Move On Up is a shared housing project run by charities Quaker Social Action and Commonweal Housing, which 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.
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, the charities 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.
This report presents the final findings of the evaluation of Move On Up, commissioned by Commonweal Housing and carried out by Learning and Work Institute. The project will run for seven years, from 2017 to 2024. The evaluation covered the first three years of delivery, from March 2017 to March 2020. This is the final report of the evaluation and brings together the findings of all five waves of data collection carried out over its three-year period. It will be of interest to policy makers, practitioners and key stakeholders in the housing and health and social care sectors.