Care leavers in Hampshire who are at risk of sleeping rough are set to get more support from the council.

The government has said Hampshire County Council is set to receive £137,310 to support care leavers at risk of homelessness by employing specialist personal advisers.

Out of 50 councils to be getting fresh government funding, Hampshire County Council will receive the second highest amount behind Wandsworth Council in London.

It comes as the number of care leavers, young people aged between 16 and 25 who the council has looked after at some point since they were 14 years old and were in care on or after their 16th birthday, has risen in Hampshire.

READ MORE: Andover Town Council meeting descends into chaos and arguments

As of September 2023, Hampshire County Council looked after 817 young people, of which 173 were unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) and 644 were not. Care leavers increased by three per cent compared with previous years.

In December last year, the government said the county council would receive a total of £137,310 from the £3,177,307.84 grant funding being given to 50 councils in 2024/25.

These young people are automatically adults for the government when they turn 18, which means they will no longer be supported financially by the council. They are expected to apply for Universal Credit but, while they wait for their claim, the council will give them financial help which it expects to be returned.

By making this claim, they were – theoretically – able to rent private accommodation, but still, they faced many difficulties.

This grant aims to offer targeted assistance to care leavers who are at the highest risk of experiencing homelessness or rough sleeping.

SEE MORE: Election survey predicts 'landslide' Labour victory but Andover would stay Tory

Councils will be able to hire one or more expert advisers to support care leavers and foster collaboration between children and housing services.

Funding is provided to councils that have five or more young people homeless in “other accommodation”, which has been considered by the council to be “unsuitable” – for example, where they are “sofa-surfing” with friends or are either in emergency or bed and breakfast accommodation.

Based on the current county council care leaver UASC population, the council said there is a shortfall of £1.4 million. These unfunded costs are only set to rise given the average age of UASC arrivals is 17, meaning they quickly become care leavers, adding to the financial deficit.

The cash limit for children’s services included a £230,000 budget item allocated for personal advisor support for care leavers.

For those who want to remain in their foster care house, “staying put” arrangements allow children to stay until they are “prepared” to live independently.

While it is not their most common option, 81 young people remained with their foster parents by December 2022.

The council, through the family hub, offers a number of support, such as the “Evelyn Mace Scholarship”, which provides scholarships for those children who want to pursue further education, focusing on drama or poetry.

Also, through the Hampshire Old Industrial and Reformatory Schools Fund, the council provides up to £500 to facilitate access to further education. This can also be used to buy equipment, travel or driving lessons to enable participation or progression.

More information on Hampshire County Council support is here.