Supported lodgings FAQs

Our recent report, Brimming with Potential: The case for supported lodgings, highlights that national guidance and structures around supported lodgings are basic and skeletal, which means that there are elements of the application, assessment and matching processes that vary quite significantly between areas and schemes.

Home for Good is working hard to increase the awareness of supported lodgings as a life-changing provision for teenagers, and to ensure that the provision is offered in a way that is consistent and standardised across the UK so that every teenager receives the support they need and every host is equipped to provide this support.

Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding supported lodgings and becoming a host. If you have a specific question that hasn’t been answered here, please get in touch with our team using the form below or by calling 0300 001 0995.

What is supported lodgings?

Supported lodgings is a provision for young people aged 16 or over, whereby they live in the home of a ‘host’ family, individual or couple. In sharing a home through supported lodgings, young people can learn practical life skills in a safe space with the encouragement of a trusted adult. Hosts have the privilege of standing alongside young people during this transition time, offering support, life skills and care.

Who is supported lodgings for?

For some teenagers aged 16 and over, a greater level of independence enabled through supported lodgings can feel more appropriate to their life stage than some of the alternative provisions available to them. Although not appropriate for all young people, supported lodgings can be suitable for a wide cohort of young people, including:

  • Those entering the care system for the first time as older teenagers.
  • Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC).
  • Young people in care seeking to transition out of foster care and move towards independent living.
  • Young people who have struggled with independent living and wish to return to a more supported environment.
What makes supported lodgings different to other types of care?

Some young people will receive the love, care and support they need in a foster home. In foster care, a young person lives in the home of a foster carer on a temporary, short-term or long term-basis, with the local authority holding parental responsibility, sometimes jointly with the birth parent, for the young person. The young person has their own room but is expected to partake in the life of the home as one of the family.

Schemes such as Staying Put and Going the Extra Mile currently exist in some areas for children living in foster care who wish to remain in with their carer beyond the age of 18. These schemes provide continuity of care and relationships for a young person with a carer with whom they have built a relationship. However, such schemes are not available to young people who may have entered care at 16 years or older.

No young person ages out of the need for ongoing, committed relationships in their life. Even if not conventional, biological or legally recognised, every person needs a family or tribe by their side to belong to and receive support from. This family or tribe can enable young people to experience love, be supported to take on new challenges, learn how to resolve conflict or disagreements and can provide them with an environment in which they can grow and learn. However, due to a shortage of high-quality options available for teenagers, many find themselves without this relational support. Some live in private housing or a council home; this could be a house-share, flat-share or studio accommodation, with no additional support (this has recently been banned for children under the age of 16). In some harrowing cases, vulnerable young people have been placed in inappropriate accommodation such as caravan parks, canal boats and tents. Many of these children have consequently been exposed to exploitation and harm.

Supported lodgings is unique within the space of semi-independent accommodation in that it allows young people to be connected in an ongoing way with a family or individual by living in their home, while having the freedom and support to develop skills for adulthood and a level of independence that feels more appropriate to their life stage. Supported lodgings can be a valuable tool in providing high-quality support for older children in care whose needs are not always met by existing schemes and who may be unable to access alternative family-based options.

Who can become a supported lodgings host?

The role of a supported lodgings host is not parental, but supportive. Due to the greater independence of the young person in supported lodgings, the host carries less responsibility and fewer hours of support are required than in foster care. Because of this, we at Home for Good have found that becoming a supported lodgings host can be more appealing and accessible to a wider group of people, including younger professionals who may want to continue in other employment, which is easier to do as a supported lodgings host than it can be as a foster carer. We have heard too that some hosts go on to become foster carers; supported lodgings can be a ‘way in’ for future foster carers. Similarly, foster carers looking to stop fostering will sometimes choose to offer supported lodgings, rather than exiting the social care system altogether.

There are so many people who could do this and do it well - single, married, older, younger, working, retired, with kids already in the home or without them. Maybe even you!

Do I need to own my own home?

Supported lodgings hosts need to have a room in their house for a teenager, and you will need to show that you can provide a safe, stable, supportive and suitable environment for a young person. You need to be a full-time resident in the UK or have leave to remain, but you do not need to own your home.

Can I be a host and continue to work full time?

Yes! Due to the greater independence of the young person in supported lodgings, the host carries less responsibility and fewer hours of support are required than in foster care, so it’s entirely possible to continue in full-time employment.

Can I be a host if I have children living at home?

Many supported lodgings providers welcome applications from host families who have children in their home already. Any assessment process will seek to ensure that becoming a host is a good fit for everyone in your family, and this will be considered when deciding if your home will be suitable for a particular young person.

What support will the young person need?

Supported lodgings is relational and offers an opportunity for young people to build a healthy, interdependent relationship with their host, and to receive the relational care and support that we all need.

Supported lodgings is ideal for assisting young people in developing life skills. Some young people who have experienced trauma or instability in their lives may lack some of the basic skills needed to be able to live on their own in the future. By living alongside one another, hosts can support young people in developing these skills at a pace that suits the young person. This can include budgeting, cooking, applying for jobs, paying bills, and operating everyday household objects such as the washing machine or dishwasher. Research1 has shown that the development of these practical skills can increase a young person’s self-confidence and wellbeing, which is particularly important for older teenagers as they navigate the crucial transition to adulthood.

Within many schemes, teenagers will also be supported by a youth worker or support worker who will help them in specific areas, such as education or employment. Young people will have differing levels of need and hosts will vary in the degree of support they can offer. This will be considered during any matching processes.

How long does a placement last?

Although supported lodgings is occasionally used on an emergency or short-term basis, most schemes aim for a young person to live with a host for between 1-2 years.

If you are considering becoming a supported lodgings host, we would love to help you explore this further. Contact us through the form below or call our enquiry line on 0300 001 0995 and one of our team will be pleased to talk with you.

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