Who provides housing for young people, and why? What do they get out of it?
Here are some stories from people like you who decided to have a young person age 16 to 18 come and live with them.
Support Lodgings with Jo Chisholm
When Jo Chisholm’s husband sadly passed away, she felt like a new direction in her life was needed.
“I lived in a 3-bedroom terraced house in Chelmsford and didn’t need all that space just for me. A house needs to be filled with people, laughter, and love!
“That led to me offering supported lodgings. It gave me the flexibility I needed at the time around a full-time job and childcare for my grandchildren – it was a perfect solution.”
22 years later, 77-year-old Jo has lost count of the exact number of young people she has welcomed into her home but reports that it has totally enriched her life.
Susie Williams, and her husband Steven, both 57, have been providing supported lodgings to an 18-year-old for the last 6 months.
With their two children fully settled in their adult lives they felt like the time was right to apply. Not only did the couple from Springfield in Chelmsford have the spare room but they had the extra time to give too.
“Young people in care need support up to the age of 21, so that they have that transition to independent living.
It’s more than just providing a home and support for independent living though. At that age family support and nurturing is still incredibly important. Especially when they may have suffered significant trauma and neglect or abuse.
They need that time to heal and I felt that I could make a real difference to a young person’s life by giving them that time”.
Like Susie, who works full time as a Family Centre Worker, many find supported lodgings a good alternative to full-time fostering, but equally as rewarding. You can read more of Susie's story in her blog.
Could you house a teenager?
"You see them arrive at your home scared and timid, but when you invest some time in nurturing them you see a confident young person start to develop.
When my two children grew up and moved out to start their own lives it went from a vibrant, happy home to a quiet, empty house with no soul.
I started to reflect on my purpose in life as I felt like a little piece of my identity had left with my children.
My faith has filled me with love, so I desperately felt like I had more love to share. As a Christian, I am always asking myself “what more can you do to help others?”
That is when I called Essex County Council about fostering.
I was quite set on fostering young children but due to my busy career I soon began to realise that it would not be a suitable option. I would not be able to give small children the full attention they deserved, and I was determined to continue my successful career in the NHS.
I nearly gave up on the idea of fostering, until the option of supported lodgings was explained to me."
Read more of Deborah's fostering story in our news section.
"All you need is good heart. You don’t need a big house, an education or to be married. Just a spare bedroom and love.
My mum was a foster carer and I really enjoyed having a large, diverse family. I still regard them all as my brothers and sisters.
When my two daughters grew up and moved out to start their own lives the house just felt empty. I craved the laughter and being around young people, which in turn made me feel young.
As I had a demanding job as a Crisis Officer for the local council, I didn’t feel that fostering was quite right for me, but then I discovered supported lodgings. but then Lynne discovered supported lodgings."
Read more of Lynne's fostering story in our news section
Jemma and Stuart
"The rewards are that you gain these extra people in your family."
"The process of getting approved involved regular visits from a social worker. They came to our home and spoke to us about our lives from childhood and about our family and life experiences. If you go ahead with the process, after several months you go before a panel to be approved. In our experience, it wasn’t as daunting as it sounds.
The rewards are that you gain these extra people in your family. You build a relationship with the young person and see them through difficult times.
I have raised my own children while doing this. The impact on them has varied depending on the young person. My eldest daughter has made a life-long friend. Some of the young people keep in touch after they have moved out. Being involved in supported lodgings has made my own children appreciate our family even more."
"This makes me feel it’s all worthwhile - the young person has found a goal in life."
"Having a young person move into your household after your own children have left gives you a lift and keeps you on your toes. It can be a challenge with some of their problems, but trying to sort them out gives you satisfaction, especially when you see good outcomes.
Teaching and helping them cook, clean, and doing their laundry can be amusing - some of them have no idea how because they have never had to do these things before.
Sharing my skills and hobbies has helped. My interest in classic motorcycles was a huge success with one young person - he learnt to ride and maintain his bike and went on to restore his own classic car.
He tells me everything he has done and wants to show me his progress. This makes me feel it’s all worthwhile - the young person has found a goal in life.
There are some down sides, where drugs or alcohol are involved and it is a challenge to point them in the right direction. Overall it gives me great satisfaction that I have helped out a vulnerable young person. Hopefully they will go on to succeed in life."