5 March 2024

YMCA Exeter is excited to announce its plans for a ground-breaking Supported Housing Pathway, securing stable accommodation for the young people of Torbay and Plymouth. The new plans will see 83 homes established for young people at risk of or facing homelessness.  

With over 40 years of experience delivering long-term affordable housing for young people in Exeter, YMCA Exeter is delighted that this new initiative has been made possible through significant investment from the Homes England Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme (SHAP).  

The new Supported Housing Pathway will provide a comprehensive support system for young individuals in Torbay and Plymouth facing challenges in securing stable housing. Through strategic partnerships in Torbay with YMCA South Devon and Torbay Council and in Plymouth with Young Devon as the support provider, YMCA Plymouth and Plymouth City Council, YMCA Exeter will address the pressing and growing issue of homelessness among young people.  

“We are thrilled to unveil this collaborative effort that will positively impact the lives of young people in Torbay and Plymouth,” says Gareth Sorsby, YMCA Exeter Joint CEO. “The Homes England SHAP programme has played a pivotal role in making this vision a reality, providing crucial funding enabling us to establish a robust Supported Housing Pathway which will provide 83 new homes, and empower young individuals from Torbay and Plymouth to overcome housing challenges.” 

The new Supported Housing Pathway will provide a holistic approach that encompasses housing, support services, and community integration, with a large focus on Employment, Meaningful Occupation, Training and Education (EMOTE). 

Cllr David Thomas, Leader of Torbay Council, says: “We are delighted to announce this new chapter in supported housing provision in Torbay. 

“Working in partnership with YMCA Exeter and YMCA South Devon will allow us to share expertise and deliver an enhanced service to our local communities including young people in need of support.” 

The Homes England SHAP programme focuses on creating new and affordable housing solutions, aligning perfectly with the mission of YMCA Exeter to provide a safe and supportive environment for local young people in need. YMCA Exeter works alongside young people until they are ready to manage their own tenancy, integrate into their local community positively and engage in meaningful employment. Young people, like Dan. 

Seven years ago, Suffolk-born Dan Flack was homeless on the streets of Exeter – sleeping in bus stops and under shop doors. At the lowest point, Dan was directed to YMCA Exeter and since then he hasn’t looked back. Today, Dan is the proud owner of his own house just over the Cornish border. 

“I’d be dead without YMCA Exeter,” Dan admits. “When I became homeless I lost confidence in myself, I didn’t look after myself, I didn’t talk to anyone. I just shut myself down. I owe everything to YMCA Exeter. If YMCA Exeter didn’t come in at that time, I wouldn’t be here.” 

There is an acute need for supported housing provision in Torbay and Plymouth. In 2023, there were 80 young people in Plymouth with medium to high support needs, without access to supported housing and at risk of homelessness and rough sleeping. Combined with that, the level and complexity of need of people transitioning to adult services from children’s services is increasing. In 2024, it is estimated that nearly 300 young adults in Plymouth will require support from Adult Social Care in the future. 

“Young Devon has been working to provide young people in Plymouth a stable and welcoming place they can call home for more than 20 years,” says Andrew Moreman Young Devon CEO. “We are delighted we are to be part of this project, it’s a game-changer for the city and it’s fantastic to work with partners like YMCA and Plymouth City Council who share our passion for supporting young people.” 

These new plans will create housing provision with onsite 24-hour staffing for young people with medium to high support needs, plus options for transitioning into supported housing when a young person is ready to live with a lower level of support.   

“Together with YMCA South Devon, Torbay Council, Young Devon, YMCA Plymouth and Plymouth City Council,” Gareth Sorsby continues, “we are confident that this Supported Housing Pathway will become a beacon of hope for many young people across Torbay and Plymouth, offering them the stability and resources needed to build a brighter future.”