Building and sky

The UK’s homelessness crisis has grown to the point that MPs from across the political divide are coming together to seek solutions, with Neil Coyle and Will Quince co-chairing an All-Party Parliamentary Group to look into the issue.

Earlier this year our staff contributed to the APPG for Ending Homelessness and today we attended the launch of its second report, which focuses on the specific issues around both youth and migrant homelessness as well as the current problems with Rapid Rehousing.

The report highlighted how young people are disproportionately affected by the implementation of the Shared Accommodation Rate, which leaves those under 35 only able to claim enough housing support to cover a room in a shared house as opposed to a self-contained flat. Many young people, especially those who are LGBT+ or prison leavers, struggle to find suitable shared accommodation and 80% of service providers and local authorities state that the Shared Accommodation Rate is negatively impacting young people’s ability to access and sustain accommodation.

In addition the report emphasised the increased risk of poverty faced by young people living outside the family home, with low youth wages, unstable employment, declining benefit protection and rising private rents all contributing factors.

Our pioneering accommodation initiative Project Vista was cited as a model which specifically addresses the needs of homeless young people, providing affordable housing alongside employment and lifeskills support to allow young people to move on to PRS accommodation. Eighteen of the 21 young people housed in Project Vista moved on successfully demonstrating the efficacy of the model.

Key recommendations in the report include:

  • Ending the Shared Accommodation Rate for all young people who have experienced homelessness, with a wider definition of what constitutes homelessness to account for the fact that young people cannot always prove their status under current rules.
  • Investing in Rapid Rehousing for young people underpinned by education, training and employment support, similar to that offered by NHYC through Project Vista.
  • Prioritising short-stay and emergency accommodation for young people, the lack of which is a problem we face daily when trying to find places for our clients to stay.

We are grateful to the APPG for inviting us to contribute our knowledge and expertise to the report, and welcome the recommendations in the report. We look forward to seeing a positive response from the Government.

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