The report, conducted by the centre for community research, concludes that there is a fiscal benefit to public finances, arising from the additional tax revenues of people in work and the reduced reliance on state benefits. There is also a marked social return on investment, reflecting the wider social contribution and reduced dependencies of homeless young people entering the world of work and a reduction in the risk of ‘critical incidents’ to which homeless young people are vulnerable.
The objective of ‘Live and Work’ was to provide young people with the opportunity to take up a range of NHS apprenticeships and live in safe, decent, affordable accommodation without dependency on welfare benefits. The hypothesis was that investment at this stage would create financial and social benefits for the young people and the public purse on a life course basis.
Jean Templeton, chief executive of St Basils, said, “This would not have been possible without the generosity and commitment of our key partners SWBNHS Trust, Health Education WM, Keepmoat regeneration, University Hospital Birmingham and the Homes and Communities Agency. We are also heavily indebted to the Centre for Community Research (CfCR), the social enterprise arm of M·E·L Research for carrying out this evaluation on a pro bono basis. “
Toby Lewis, chief executive of Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, said, “We embarked on this project because we wanted to do more to help young people at risk of rooflessness and in need of secure stable opportunities. Consistent with our passion for learning, we welcome this report, which will be important as we move towards the second phase of this work. We are delighted to have supported young local people into work, without benefits, and with a chance to create careers and help others. Our thanks to everyone involved, especially staff who have worked to mentor and support those clients. They are now proud and established members of our organisation.”
The hope now is that others can benefit from the experience and learning and that the principle of 'live and work' schemes can be replicated at scale. Our contention is that capital investment not only reduces the need for revenue subsidy but removes early dependency on welfare benefits and enables young people to focus on their ambitions and their development, underpinned by a safe place to live.