Homelessness is a major problem in the UK, and particularly in Brighton. It’s a heartbreaking situation that affects people of all ages, but it’s especially devastating for young people who are just starting out in life. When you’re homeless, you don’t have a stable place to sleep, you don’t have access to basic necessities like food and water, and you’re at a higher risk of abuse and exploitation. That’s why it’s so important that we do everything we can to help young people who are struggling with homelessness.
One way we can help is by providing supported accommodation. This is a type of housing that comes with additional support and resources to help people transition into independence. It can be especially beneficial for young people who are experiencing homelessness or other challenges, as it provides a safe and stable place to live while they get the help they need to get back on their feet.
In Brighton, there are two main options for supported accommodation: in-house and hybrid (third sector/private sector). In this article, I will explain why I believe that in-house supported accommodation is the best choice for homeless youth in Brighton.
In a recent report from the Children, Young People & Skills Committee there were some significant admissions to the service which got me thinking.
The Pros of In-House Supported Accommodation:
Lower costs: One of the biggest advantages of in-house supported accommodation is that it’s typically less expensive than hybrid supported accommodation. This is because in an in-house model, the council itself owns and manages the properties, rather than outsourcing the work to a third party. This means that the council doesn’t have to pay for management or administrative fees, which can add up quickly. The council’s current spend on hybrid supported accommodation is £3m per year, while the estimated cost of in-house supported accommodation is £1m per year. This means that the council could save approximately £2m per year by switching to in-house supported accommodation.
Greater control: When the council is in charge of the properties, it has greater control over the quality and standards of the accommodation. This can be especially important for young people, who may have specific needs or requirements. With in-house supported accommodation, the council can ensure that young people have access to high-quality housing and support that meets their needs.
Stronger links to local services: In-house supported accommodation can also help to establish stronger links between the council and other local services that are important for young people, such as education and training opportunities. This can be especially beneficial for young people who are trying to transition into independence and may need additional support to do so.
Potential for additional income: As a landlord, the council has the potential to generate rental income and council tax payments as an additional source of funding. This can help to offset some of the costs of providing supported accommodation, and it can also be used to finance additional support and resources for young people.
Greater involvement and empowerment: In-house supported accommodation also allows young people to have a greater level of involvement and empowerment in their own housing and support. This can be especially important for young people who may have previously felt disempowered or disenfranchised in other housing situations. With in-house supported accommodation, young people have the opportunity to be involved in the planning and decision-making processes, which can help to build their confidence and skills.
Support for care leavers: In-house supported accommodation can also be a good option for young people who are leaving care. The Care Leavers Act requires local authorities to provide support for care leavers until they are 25 years old, and in-house supported accommodation can be a good way to meet this obligation.
In-house accommodation can also provide a level of stability and continuity that can be difficult to achieve in other types of housing. When young people are homeless, they often have to move around frequently and may struggle to build lasting relationships or connections in their community. With in-house supported accommodation, young people can stay in one place for longer periods of time, which can help them to build connections and establish a sense of belonging.
In addition to providing stability, in-house supported accommodation can also offer young people the opportunity to receive more targeted and specialised support. Staff who work in in-house accommodation are often trained to work specifically with young people and are able to offer tailored support to meet the individual needs of each resident. This can be especially important for young people who may have experienced trauma or other challenges in their lives.
Finally, in-house supported accommodation can also help to promote the rights of young people, as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UNCRC sets out the rights of children and young people and requires governments to ensure that these rights are protected. In-house supported accommodation can help to ensure that young people have access to safe and stable housing, as well as the support and resources they need to thrive.
In conclusion, I believe that in-house supported accommodation is the best option for homeless youth in Brighton. It’s more cost-effective, provides greater control and quality, has stronger links to local services, and has the potential to generate additional income. It also promotes stability, targeted support, and the rights of young people. While there may be other options available, I believe that in-house supported accommodation is the most effective and sustainable choice for addressing homelessness among young people in Brighton. The potential cost savings and other advantages of in-house support are definitely worth considering.
Finally I would like to end on this somber note and it involves a real life case of mine, one of my clients and I can’t say much but they were really struggling after becoming homeless and losing a sibling, due to the mental health strain this person was in and out of mill view and was placed in supported accommodation, through no fault of her own, this person was evicted and placed in unsupported emergency accommodation, with an attempt to move this young girl under 20 out of area to Newhaven. In one of the many hostels she was placed, she was sadly one night sexually assaulted in common hallways after collapsing, it was only with CCTV evidence, after I campaigned for CCTV to be in all these unsupported hostels that we were able to get a conviction, these are the real life benefits, young vulnerable people should not be living around dangerous exploitative adults who have bad intentions and can do what this person did to my client, she sadly has to live with this for the rest of her life.
We can prevent this with an in-house service, make it a demand for safeguarding and young people’s welfare. The in-house model not only offers financial benefits, but it also allows for greater control and quality in the housing and support provided to homeless youth. It establishes strong links to local services and empowers young people to have a greater level of involvement in their own housing and support. Additionally, it is a necessary option for meeting the obligations set forth in the Care Leavers Act and supporting care leavers as they transition into independence.
The horrors of my client’s experience is a poignant reminder of the importance of ensuring safe and stable housing for all young people, particularly those who are at a higher risk of abuse and exploitation. The in-house model offers a viable solution to addressing homelessness among young people in Brighton, and it is a model that should be seriously considered by local authorities and other decision-makers.
To provide an in-house model of supported accommodation for young people in Brighton, the council would need to allocate an initial budget for the purchase or renovation of properties to be used as accommodation. The council would also need to hire staff to manage the properties and provide support to residents.
Based on the current budget for hybrid supported accommodation of £3.08m per year, and assuming an average cost of £30,000 per year for each staff member (excluding associated costs), the council could employ staff members under an in-house model. This would allow for the provision of staffed accommodation for 32 placements for young people aged 16-17, and 51 placements for young people aged 18+. The council would also have 4 placements available for block contracts for age 18+ floating support.
Current Hybrid Model For Sept 2022:
Age 16/17 staffed units: 32 placements
Age 16/17 floating support: 2 placements
Age 18+ staffed units: 1 placement
Age 18+ floating support: 51 placements
Total: 86 placements
Calculation for the cost of in-house supported accommodation:
Number of placements: 86
Number of staff members needed: 86 / 6 = 14.3 (rounded up to 15)
Salary per staff member: £30,000
Total salary for staff members: 15 x £30,000 = £450,000
Additional costs (NI, pension, etc.): £157,500
Total cost of staffing: £450,000 + £157,500 = £607,500
Number of managers needed: 15 / 6 = 2.5 (rounded up to 3)
Salary per manager: £50,000
Total salary for managers: 3 x £50,000 = £150,000
Additional costs (NI, pension, etc.): £52,500
Total cost of management: £150,000 + £52,500 = £202,500
Total cost of staffing and management: £607,500 + £202,500 = £810,000
Total cost of in-house supported accommodation: £810,000
Calculation for the cost of purchasing properties:
Number of placements: 86
Cost per placement: £150,000
Total cost of purchasing properties: 86 x £150,000 = £12,900,000
In addition to these costs, there will also be a budget for maintenance and cleaning of the properties, estimated at £2,000 per placement per year. This would result in an additional annual cost of £172,000.
Total annual cost of in-house model: £810,000 + £172,000 = £982,000 per year, now add 3% annual increase.
In comparison, the current hybrid model has an annual cost of £3.08m.
The cost of placements in external accommodation providers is not specified in the report, but it is likely that this cost is significantly higher than the cost of in-house accommodation. This is because external providers may charge additional fees for services such as support and maintenance, as well as profit margins.
In total, the annual cost of the in-house model is estimated to be £982,000, which is significantly lower than the annual cost of the hybrid model. This represents a saving of approximately £2,018,000 per year for the council.
Over a period of 3 years, the total savings for the council would be approximately £6,054,000. This includes the initial outlay for the purchase or renovation of properties, as well as the ongoing costs of staffing and maintenance.
Over a period of 5 years, the total savings for the council would be approximately £10,090,000. This includes the initial outlay for the purchase or renovation of properties, as well as the ongoing costs of staffing and maintenance.
Over a period of 10 years, the total savings for the council would be approximately £20,180,000. This includes the initial outlay for the purchase or renovation of properties, as well as the ongoing costs of staffing and maintenance.
Over a period of 25 years, the total savings for the council would be approximately £50,450,000. This includes the initial outlay for the purchase or renovation of properties, as well as the ongoing costs of staffing and maintenance.
Over a period of 40 years, the total savings for the council would be approximately £80,720,000. This includes the initial outlay for the purchase or renovation of properties, as well as the ongoing costs of staffing and maintenance.
In addition to these cost savings, the council could also generate additional income through rental payments and council tax from the supported accommodation placements. Assuming that each placement generates £400 per month in rent and £50 per month in council tax with an annual increase of 3%, the total annual rental income would be £412,800. Over a period of 3 years, the council could generate an additional £1,238,400 in rental income. Over a period of 5 years, the council could generate an additional 2,018,000 in. Rental income. 10 years = £4,036,000, 25 years = £10,090,000
When considering the total cost of the in-house model and the additional income generated through rental payments and council tax, the council could generate a net saving of approximately £2,018,000 per year by switching to the in-house model. This saving would increase over time due to inflation, with a 3% inflation rate resulting in the following projected net savings:
- 3 years: £2,053,540
- 5 years: £2,178,864
- 10 years: £2,441,286
- 25 years: £3,122,979
- 40 years: £3,804,672
In conclusion, the in-house model of supported accommodation for homeless youth in Brighton offers significant cost savings and additional income opportunities for the council. It also provides a higher level of control and quality, as well as stronger links to local services and a track record of improved outcomes for young people. Therefore, we recommend that the council consider switching to an in-house model in order to effectively address homelessness among young people in the city.
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