The pandemic has made the difficult situations for young people facing homelessness even harder. In this moving and uplifting podcast series, young people we support share their experiences of being young and homelessness in these Covid times.
Covid has been particularly tough on young people: their education, employment and mental health have all taken a massive hit. They are also struggling more to find accommodation: 81% more under-25s were sleeping rough in London during lockdown compared to the same period last year.
In Young and Homeless in These Covid Times young people talk not only about the impact of having nowhere safe to stay on their lives. Their powerful, inspiring stories are also packed with resilience, wisdom and thoughts on how to tackle youth homelessness.
Young people need a more direct route with detailed advice of the support that’s out there and a more direct route for them to get permanent, safe housing- a permanent place to sleep.
During lockdown Rani and Lorenzo stayed in so-called ‘Everyone In’ emergency hotels as part of the government’s Covid rough sleeping response. In the podcast they talk frankly about the realities of street homelessness, living in the hotels, their plans and what decision-makers need to know.
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I need to come back and come back stronger.
Najma spent her 22nd birthday living in a hotel, unsure what would happen next. She discusses social isolation, peer support, and how being given a laptop meant that she could start her dream job.
Leaving home [...] has been really painful. It was difficult for me not only to live out of a bag but also somewhere that’s not home.
We speak to three young people who are sofa surfing and have to rely on friends or strangers to keep a roof over their heads during the pandemic. Talking about the impact of hidden homelessness on their goals and study, they show tremendous courage and strength in facing adversity head-on.
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I struggled with feeling accepted and having a voice. I felt like when I came to New Horizon I was able to reclaim my voice.
Katy graduated during lockdown while sofa surfing in her final year at university. They became homeless because their sexuality wasn't accepted at home.
I do computer science but I’m behind on a lot of coursework because of the pandemic […] I just want to get myself in accommodation where I can shut the door and it’s just me and I can focus on myself.
For over a year Joseph has been staying at whatever friend can put him up for the night. His local council is aware of this. Without a stable place to live, he’s been finding it hard to study. That doesn't keep him from getting on with it though.
Always stay positive
Her immigration status means Apple can’t access benefits or housing. She explains how homelessness and having no recourse to public funds are affecting her mental health, and why counselling is so important to her.
I want for black people to just be able to be at the same position as our white counterparts without anyone looking at us and making us feel like we shouldn’t be here. I want to feel like the same opportunities are offered to me as anyone else who works as hard as me.
Simon interviews staff member Kai, they talk food, culture and hopes for the future.
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If you want to get in touch or share your thoughts just use the hashtag #NHYC