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NHYC helped to highlight youth homelessness at one of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions last weekend. Thanks to the Museum of Homelessness, our sofa featured at Tate Modern in their ‘State of the Nation’ exhibition on 8-9 April 2017.

When the Museum of Homelessness asked us to contribute the red sofa they’d seen us use to represent the hidden nature of youth homelessness, we didn’t hesitate to say yes.

The sofa symbolises the fact that young people in housing need do not conform to the stereotypical image of homelessness but are often sofa-surfing. Struggling to hold down jobs or college places they take care to present themselves as anything but vulnerable, which can mean that the huge problem of youth homelessness is overlooked. Moreover it leaves many homeless young people very unsafe and  at risk of exploitation.

NHYC staff and young people attended the event and took part in workshops and installations. Our Youth Forum contributed also to discussions with artists, homelessness charities and London Deputy Mayor of Housing James Murray, who visited our centre in January and remembered our sofa.  We’re really proud of how these young people managed to include the importance of solving youth homelessness and sofa-surfing in the debates.

We hope that having sofa-surfing featured in such a prominent institution will help keep the public and those in positions of power focused on what for young people especially is an increasingly bleak picture, with rising living costs, no Living Wage and cuts to housing benefits for 18-21 year olds.

We’d like to say a sincere thank you to Museum of Homelessness for enabling us to be part of this fantastic event and for their hard work in getting people with experience of homelessness involved in discussions on that directly impact their lives.

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