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Young people put their urgent case to mayoral candidates

Political invisibility of youth homelessness. Prohibitive rents in the private sector. No living wage for the under 25s. Lack of emergency and hostel accommodation. High travel costs. Rental caps on supported housing. Pending removal of housing support benefits for 18-21 year olds.

These were some of the topics the young people at New Horizon Youth Centre presented to the mayoral and London Assembly candidates at our Young People’s Mayoral Hustings on 18 February 2016.

Caroline Pidgeon (LibDem), Caroline Russell (Greens), David Dean (Conservatives), David Kurten (UKIP), and Sara Hyde (Labour) all responded to brilliant questions from young people. Feeling discriminated against by policies on wages, benefits and housing, young people told the candidates what it is like to be young and homeless in the capital: 

  • “I have long-term goals but I get offered short-term accommodation”
  • “You are not letting me thrive.”
  • “Let me be the person I can be.”
  • “I came from my country to escape war, not to be homeless. I need a chance.”
  • “Why can’t we have access to housing benefit and have the same opportunities as our peers?”

 They relayed the need for the next mayor to invest in young people in London. They also highlighted the necessity for the mayor and GLA to support the voluntary sector in delivering essential services to those who are homeless or vulnerable. 

Youth empowerment is a key element of our work. The young people know they have to have their voices heard – and they will now put their trust in the candidates learning from the experiences and asks voiced here today.

In the words of Jon Snow, chairing the hustings: “A big thank you to the candidates present. And especially a big thank you to the young people for some of the best questions ever heard in political hustings.” 

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