Next steps for the young and homeless?
Over the past month, we’ve been focusing on youth homelessness, the key causes and how the projects we fund are supporting vulnerable young people.
According to the charity Homeless Link, 2,744 people are estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night, a 14% increase over the last two years. Meanwhile it’s young people who are struggling the most. Over half of all homeless people are under 25.
Young people become homeless for a wide range of reasons, and we looked at the most common causes for young people sleeping rough, as identified by Homeless Link in their Young and Homeless report. These were:
- employment and training
- substance misuse
- family and relationship breakdown.
Despite the scale of the problem, there are a range of expert organisations which are helping to develop the sector’s understanding of young homelessness and recommendations for what can be done.
First, we heard about Centrepoint’s work to offer tailored support to address wide-ranging health problems; with a focus on early intervention to prevent a young person’s problems reaching crisis point.
Meanwhile for Homeless Link, they highlighted the growing employment support offered by homelessness agencies such as career planning and coaching to aid the transition in to employment.
When it c
ame to West Yorkshire Finding Independence (WY-FI) project, substance misuse was best tackled by putting the people first, and actually asking the beneficiaries what they need rather than presuming what the support should be.
Finally, Crisis took a look at the number one cause for young homelessness – family breakdown. They highlighted just how mediation can be a powerful tool – either as a long term solution or temporarily until somewhere else can be found.
Throughout the month we’ve also heard from projects across England playing a huge role in tackling homelessness. On World Homelessness Day we heard from Bristol Nightstop and how it’s not just “the ever increasing numbers of anonymous people sleeping in the city centre doorway at 4am” but also “the teenager who stays at a friends’ house and sleeps on a spare sofa.” Meanwhile, on World Poetry Day, the Booth Centre shared with us some of the poetry created by their service users.
Thank you to everyone that joined in the discussion online or shared their experiences with us to help paint a picture of how we can all make a difference locally.