The London rough sleeping statistics released today show that investment in youth-specific provision must be one of the priorities of the government’s £640m homelessness funding announced this week.
We are encouraged to see that, according to the CHAIN data published today, the number of young people sleeping rough in London between July and September this year has significantly decreased compared to the same period in 2020-21. During the year the sector, the Greater London Authority and London Councils have worked together to find solutions to address rough sleeping amongst under-25s in the capital since the start of the pandemic.
The CHAIN data also indicates that one in ten of all people sleeping rough are under-25. We therefore welcome the government's budget announcement of substantial funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in the years ahead, and highlight that that this number leaves no doubt that this investment should also directly benefit young people.
As Phil Kerry, CEO of New Horizon, explains:“With support from the GLA and London Councils, we started our emergency accommodation project for 18-24 year olds with Depaul UK in March and give 40 young Londoners a safe place to stay every night. At the end of September nearly 100 young people used the project, with the majority moving on into stable accommodation. This shows that precisely this type and funding of youth-specific rough sleeping provision works and that government support is now needed more than ever.”
Ibrahim (23) talks about the importance of age-appropriate services like 'Hotel 1824', the emergency accommodation project we run with Depaul UK: “I was staying with my brother but our relationship was really strained and soon after he kicked me out, leaving me with nowhere to go. I had no other option than sleeping rough for a few weeks, which for me also meant staying some nights in my car and with friends where possible. I first came to New Horizon after a referral by StreetLink. New Horizon’s outreach team worked closely with me to get help from my local services, they then placed me in Hotel 1824. Now I’ve got somewhere safe to sleep I can finally focus on getting a job to rebuild my life towards my ambitions.”
But London cannot do this alone. It needs government to step up its support and investment in youth homelessness and young people, so that they will not be left behind permanently in our collective efforts to prevent and solve rough sleeping.
"Rough sleeping, it's not something anyone wants, but I didn't have a choice. At first I was very frightened, it was really cold, really dark and uncomfortable. I just didn't really know what services were out there and that there were people who could provide accommodation for you."
If you want to get in touch or share your thoughts just use the hashtag #NHYC