Top Tips To Secure Long-Term Accommodation
Susanne Jeffries, Head of Long-term Living at National Star, shares her thoughts on how parents and carers can successfully secure long-term supported accommodation for their sons and daughters.
There are many different things to consider when helping your son or daughter choose long-term supported accommodation if they make a decision to live independently after college.
Do they want to live close to their family home or would they prefer to live near to where they have been studying? How much support will they need? What life skills have they developed at college that will help them as they transition to life as an adult in control of their own life?
Our advice is to engage with your local authority as early as possible during your transition year. Make sure you have an allocated social worker or continuing healthcare worker to support you.
Once that’s in place, here are our top 9 tips for making that smooth transition:
- Make a list of the needs, wants and aspirations of your son or daughter. What are the essential requirements and what are desirable? There may need to be compromises along the way, so understanding the ‘must-have’ requirements is critical.
- Start early. Talk to other parents / carers in the area supporting young people with disabilities who are in the same boat as you. See if there are any parent / carer forums and / or disability support organisations who may be able to help. The National Network of Parent Carer Forums is a great place to start. Visit: nnpcf.org.uk
- Search the local offer for suitable long-term accommodation providers. Internet search ‘local offer’ and the name of your local authority – e.g. ‘local offer Gloucestershire’.
- Do some online research to find out more about the housing providers on your shortlist. Check their Care Quality Commission inspection report for English providers (cqc.org.uk) and the Care Inspectorate Wales for Welsh providers (www.careinspectorate.wales).
- There are often photos and / or virtual tours, as well as parent testimonials, on providers’ websites.
- Have your questions at the ready! How easy is it to access the local community? Does the provider have their own vehicle and a suitable driver? Are current residents involved in volunteering in the local community, attending college courses or other activities? How do residents access therapies? What is staff turnover like? Do staff receive regular training updates? How often do spaces become available in the supported accommodation? How do they allocate places when they become available? Is there a waiting list for places? Can they give you an indication about when a space may become available? It may be possible to ask over the phone or by email.
- Arrange to view the property and meet staff and residents where possible. If coronavirus prevents a physical tour at the moment, a virtual visit may be possible instead.
- Keeping in touch. Does the provider use social media proactively so that relatives can keep in touch with what residents have been doing? Do residents look happy and engaged? Is there a newsletter for relatives? PS sign up to our newsletter here
- What steps will be put in place to ensure your son or daughter can make a successful transition to their new home? Coronavirus permitting, are staff able to shadow National Star staff, or enable visits and overnight stays? Can they provide photos of staff and the environment to aid with social stories / sample timetables?
National Star’s Transition team is on hand to offer help, support and guidance to the parents and carers of students. We want students to continue their journey towards independence when they leave college and will support you every step of the way in order to achieve that for your son or daughter. Speak to your son or daughter’s Personal Learning Coordinator, Personal Learning Coordinator Tutor or Tutor to get the ball rolling.
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