The scale of youth homelessness
84,000 young people in England asked their local council for help as they were homeless in 2017-18
Last year, Centrepoint published ‘Making Homeless Young People Count’, a report that uses the new Youth Homelessness Databank to analyse the scale of youth homelessness across the UK. The Databank collects this information from individual Local Authorities and is worth a visit if you are interested in the statistics in your area.
Making Young Homeless People Count estimates that in 2017-18, 84,000 young people in England presented to their local council as they were homeless or at risk of homelessness. The figures from the Databank show that 1,224 of these were for the areas where SASH works (North Yorkshire and York – there is no data available on ‘approaches for help’ for Hull or the East Riding of Yorkshire).
The greatest single reason is the family being no longer willing or able to accommodate
The reasons for homelessness given in the report very much reflect what we see in referrals to our services: the vast majority of cases are due to the family no longer being willing or able to accommodate the young person. For those accessing our Nightstop service in 2018, over 50% were homeless because of family breakdown.
Over half received no meaningful support
The report also found that more than half of those approaching their Local Authority for help received no meaningful support, a worrying figure as it represents a majority who are potentially faced with nowhere safe to stay, despite asking for help. These figures predate the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act and we are hopeful that more young people will receive the help they are entitled to in 2018-19.
Our services offer a safe place to stay, and so much more
In the areas that we cover, when a young person does receive support from their Local Authority, it might be through a referral to our services. Where appropriate, we can offer the young person a safe place to stay in the home of a trained volunteer ‘host’ and provide the support they need to turn their life around.
This support element is just as important as providing a roof over their head. It stops young people from entering the cycle of long-term and street homelessness, which has grown so much in recent years. The work we do to change the direction their life has taken has an impact way beyond the time that they stay in our service. In 2017-18, 77 per cent of those staying in our Nightstop scheme moved into permanent accommodation following their stay. That’s 134 young people who did not have to resort to staying somewhere that was unsafe, or living in a way that impacted on their education or employment.
Our solution works
Our solution to youth homelessness works. It is a simple one, founded on the willingness of local people to help some of the most vulnerable members of their communities. But there’s a catch. We can’t do this without our hosts, and at the moment we don’t have enough of them.
Our hosts play a direct, hands-on role in helping vulnerable young people get back on their feet and into a position where they can move forward. Thanks to them, last year we helped 330 young people avoid homelessness through our Nightstop and Supported Lodgings schemes
Could you help?
Just like each of the young people we help, our hosts have a member of SASH staff dedicated to supporting them. They have access to support 24 hours a day, receive ongoing training and a payment to help with the cost of hosting. If you have a spare room and think you could help, we would love to hear from you. There is more information about hosting here, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have. Just call us on 01904 652043 or via our contact page.