Provider name

The Hous Project


Reference person within the institution

Key words

care leavers, housing


Care leavers can be at risk of poor outcomes as they transition to independent living without the support of close family. Many young people struggle to live on their own, facing increased isolation, higher risks of mental health problems, homelessness, and becoming NEET or being involved in the criminal justice system.

Originally run by Stoke-on-Trent Council in Round 1 of the programme, the House Project (HP) represents a new approach to supporting care leavers to take control of their transitions to independent living and to have greater involvement and choice in creating their own long-term home after care.

With further Innovation Programme funding and led by Warwickshire over the next three years, we aim to build on these achievements by working with care leavers to set up a business to re-furbish and manage housing that they then live in, We are also in the process of establishing five additional House Projects in Islington, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Rotherham and Doncaster, as well as establish a National Hub to support Local Authorities to replicate the project

Intended outcome(s)

The HP aims to improve post-care housing stability and increase young people’s satisfaction with their home
after care. From that base, the project aims to improve wider outcomes and experiences to provide a positive
and inclusive transition to adulthood. This includes improved participation in education, employment and
training (EET) (a condition of HP membership), transferable skills, wellbeing, integration and greater autonomy

Established practice

The HP is a housing company based on a housing co-operative model, run for and by young people aged 16-18 who are leaving care. It comprises a staff team (including project facilitators to support young people) and partner agencies (including staff from legal, architect and training companies). The project involves the transfer of 10 council properties to the HP at any one time, on a short-term lease. The properties are allocated to HP young people under HP tenancy agreements alongside a bespoke package of support. When the young person feels (and is considered) able to live independently with less support they transition out of the project and they and their home transfer to a standard council tenancy. The project involves young people working with the architect and project management team to refurbish their property, which offers new skills and helps engender a sense of ownership and a real say in creating a long-term home.

Conclusions and recommendations

The HP offers opportunities and potential for young people to find post-care stability and to support each other
to develop the skills, agency and self-confidence needed to make a positive transition from care. Early findings
suggest that a realistic timescale is needed to address the legal complexities and cross-departmental protocols
associated with setting up such a company. Contributors to successful implementation included: strong
leadership; commitment; senior level buy-in across council departments; and co-operation and flexibility from
existing placement providers. Sustainability and replication of the HP model relies on a number of factors:
 the availability of sufficient and suitable council housing stock
 maintaining a flow of 16 and 17 year old care leavers into the project and successful tenants out of the
project to enable the funding model to operate effectively and to free up capacity in the project
 cross-departmental buy-in to ensure joint protocols and effective safeguards across children’s services,
housing and other relevant agencies
 access to intensive and flexible support, including a skilled, experienced and well established HP staff team
and continuing support and case responsibility from leaving care services
 creating robust systems and safeguards to ensure that young people are suitable for the project; only move
into their tenancy when they are ready; and have contingency plans to safely and efficiently manage any
changes to leaving care plans, exits from the project and housing breakdowns or evictions.

Link to materials

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