Moving young people out of homelessness during lockdown
published on 1 May 2020
In Cardiff, a pioneering homelessness prevention partnership which supports over 106 young people who are experiencing homelessness has gone from strength-to-strength and delivered creative supported housing solutions for young people during the pandemic.
Working under strict government public health guidelines, staff from The Salvation Army-led Cardiff Young Persons Supported Accommodation Partnership have continually gone the extra mile to help young people rebuild their lives despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“For a young person who’s been homeless, moving into a new flat can be a very anxious and delicate time under normal circumstances, but during lockdown there’s an added level of anxiety and our staff have been going that extra mile for them at this crucial turning point in their lives” said Sally Anthony who is the contract manager for the partnership.
“In the last two weeks alone, our team has supported nine young people to move into their flats as they rebuild their lives during the lockdown. Despite the lockdown challenges of social distancing, staff shortages and fewer external support services the partnership has delivered to its full capacity. This has ensured that all young people across the partnership receive the support, safety and opportunity they need to be able to sustain their accommodation during the pandemic and longer term plan to resettle back into the community - everyone has been fantastic”
The Cardiff Young Persons Supported Accommodation Partnership - which is comprised of The Salvation Army, Taff Housing Association and Church Action and delivered on behalf of Cardiff Council has faced quite a few hurdles during the lockdown.
“There have been many challenges to address during the lockdown and the main one has been keeping the service running with the necessary staffing levels while following government public health guidelines about coronavirus”, said Sally.
“The staff have been brilliant and come up with some great ways to provide a morale boost and cheer everyone up. They’ve organised a social distancing pizza night and film evenings where they set up a cinema at one of our centres where all the chairs were two meters apart. We also gave residents mindfulness colouring books and pens at one centre”, said Sally.
“We’re using technology such as WhatsApp and Facebook to show young people the new homes that are available for them to move into. Under normal circumstances, we’d take them to see the flats that they can move into but under lockdown we can’t do that so the social media has been invaluable because we can give them a virtual tour.
“We’re also using social media to contact young people who are already living semi -independently in their own home every day to check on their wellbeing – that could be a phone call, a text message or a message on Facebook – whatever works best for each young person. We’re making sure every day that they have food and are not getting lonely during lockdown” she concluded.