Plan for the 136k

Posted on: 19 September 2023

What are we calling for?

Currently, there is no national plan for ending youth homelessness. So as a coalition of over 100 youth organisations, we are calling on political parties to adopt our strategy.

No matter who we are or where we are from, most of us want young people in our communities to grow up safe, housed and knowing there are people looking out for them.

But the services that act as a safety net for young people pushed into danger, harm and homelessness are overwhelmed, underfunded and often overlooked when it comes to resources, policy and decision making.

Each of the 135,800 young people who contacted their council last year asking for help is full of potential and deserves a fair shot at reaching their dreams and goals. Frontline services report that only half of those they work with have contacted their council before so we know the true scale could be double. Right now, hundreds of thousands of young people are terrified about having a roof over their head, enough to heat and being able to stay warm and safe as winter approaches – navigating between unsafe hostels, friend’s sofas and the streets.

Will you join us?

Sign our petition

Sign your name to our petition to demand there is a national strategy to end youth homelessness.

Sign the petition today

Join the campaign as your organisation

Email [email protected] to get your organisation involved in the campaign. We are stronger together.

Email us

Write to your MP

Tell your MP that you care. Your MP can advocate for change and can push to get a strategy for ending youth homelessness on the agenda.

Use our template to email your MP
135,800 young people aged 16-25 approached their council for help with homelessness in 2021-2022.
350+ young people a day become homeless.
50% of young people at risk do not contact their council.
32% more young people are accessing NHYC since 2021.
1,146 young people were supported by NHYC last year.
110 organisations have joined the campaign so far!

The Solutions

Our strategy to end youth homelessness is based on these key areas:

An illustration of a young person in prison sat across the table from an older person.

PREVENTION

Supporting young people in schools, communities and councils to stop them reaching crisis in the first place.

Read the Strategy
Icon of a house with a for rent sign outside

HOUSING

Better, safer options in place to catch and support those facing homelessness such as emergency accommodation and better rental conditions.

Read the Strategy
An illustration of a wallet

FINANCES

Fairer pay and resources so young people can build successful, independent lives.

Read the Strategy
An illustration of a young person shouting through a megaphone

LISTENING

Young people face unique challenges, so need unique solutions, which young people must help shape.

Read the Strategy

Will you join us?

Sign our petition

Sign your name to our petition to demand there is a national strategy to end youth homelessness.

Sign the petition today

Join the campaign as your organisation

Email [email protected] to get your organisation involved in the campaign. We are stronger together.

Email us

Write to your MP

Tell your MP that you care. Your MP can advocate for change and can push to get a strategy for ending youth homelessness on the agenda.

Use our template to email your MP

"Homelessness isn’t a mystery or senseless. The systems are failing and young people are falling through the cracks. Adopting a youth homelessness strategy would transform the lives and futures of young people in the UK, something any government would be proud of."

Phil Kerry, CEO NHYC

Read the story of the campaign

The problem

In 2022-23, 135,800 16–25-year-olds presented at their local authority as homeless or at risk of homelessness (Centrepoint). Many young people are “hidden homeless” not showing up in the data, so this figure could easily be double. With COVID and the cost-of-living crisis, it’s getting worse.

At New Horizon Youth Centre we have seen a 32% increase in young people using our services in the year 2022-2021 compared with 2019-2020.

Far too many young people in the UK find themselves unhoused, unsupported and unsafe.

Why is this happening?

In delivering our work to support young people experiencing homelessness, we find they face the same barriers time and time again:

They are often invisible to authorities and services.

They can’t evidence their homelessness.

They are often not seen as a priority need, or believed.

They don’t know what support is available.

They are subject to age-related pay discrimination.

They receive reduced welfare benefits.

There is a lack of supply of suitable, affordable housing for young people.

They face systematic racism and discrimination.

They face a higher risk of exploitation.

The knock on impact

54% of people who are currently sleeping rough reported experiencing homelessness for the first time when under the age of 25; and 48% experienced rough sleeping for the first time before this age. (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, 2020)

Only 33% of the 136k young people who presented as homeless or at risk at their local authority in 2022/23 had a positive outcome – meaning their homelessness was successfully prevented or relieved. 63% fell through the cracks; the negative impact on the health, education and employment prospects of young people without a home are extreme. (Centrepoint)

What can we do?

Young people’s experiences of homelessness are different from other age groups, so solutions need to be different, and they need to be informed by lived experience. Young people have so far been systemically overlooked in local and national homelessness and housing strategies.

Therefore, it is essential for government to adopt a cross-departmental strategy to end youth homelessness as a manifesto commitment, informed by young people’s lived experience.

This is the perfect time to show an active, intersectional intervention and a commitment to levelling up for every future generation.

We see three strands to a cross-departmental #PlanForThe136k

Solution 1: Prevention in schools, communities and councils

Schools:

Supported to identify and help those at risk of homelessness, as well as delivering more emotional and life skills education to support young people when turning 18.

Communities:

Better support for parents and families and training given to community leaders to recognise the signs and support young people to be safe and housed.

Councils:

Guidance so they know how to best support young people and more funding to prevent youth homelessness.

Solution 2: Housing

More emergency housing for young people.

More affordable and appropriate homes for young people.

Improved regulation in private and social housing so no young person is left without a home.

Solution 3: Finances

End age-related pay and benefits discrimination.

Allow council tax breaks for all young people (like for students currently).

Give more financial support for young renters.

Will you join the campaign?

Sign your name to our petition.

 

Make sure your organisation is signed up to the campaign. Email [email protected] to get involved!

 

Write to your MP

136 organisations have joined the campaign to call for a strategy to end youth homelessness.

With your support we can end youth homelessness for good.

Get involved and add your name by emailing [email protected] today.


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