This is not a sob story

Every day, another busload of young Londoners are forced into homelessness.

We’ve been supporting London’s abandoned 16 to 24-year-olds for over 55 years. With the cost of living rising, this winter, more and more young people are being thrown into situations they should never have to face. We’re asking you to share the problem, donate the cost of your commute and together, we can #StopTheBus.

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See the whole story

That’s around 74 16- to- 24 year-olds a day

If you saw a double-decker bus full of young people without safety, security or a place to sleep tonight, chances are you’d want to do something to stop it. This is the huge scale of the problem we’re facing. So why does it go under the radar?

It’s because youth homelessness is difficult to track and hard to see. Many young people don’t want to admit there’s a problem, they don’t think they’ll be taken seriously, or they might just not know what to do next. So, they don’t go to their council, and they’re left out of the official stats.

Take last year. Of the young people who came to see us, only 56% had told their council they were homeless. That leaves 44% of young homeless people unaccounted for*.

So, while the official stat of 15,200 young Londoners facing homelessness last year is already shocking**, we know the real number is nearly double that.

* Percentage calculations based on an NHYC dataset from the 2021-22 financial year

**Centrepoint Databank

Without somewhere safe to stay

Homelessness looks different for everyone. What we mean when we say ‘forced into homelessness’ is:

  • – Staying with friends, strangers, ‘sofa surfing’ or informal accommodation arrangements
  • – Sleeping on buses or in public places
  • – Sleeping rough on the streets or in buildings
  • – Staying with families or relationships where they are unsafe or at risk of harm
  • – Modern slavery
  • – Housing precarity – not knowing where they’ll sleep next

See more about this and the London data in our ‘Life Off the Streets’ report.

Follow the stories

Behind the stats, there are tens of thousands of individual stories. Of adversity, community, and resilience.

All our stories are rooted in the real-life experiences of young people supported by NHYC. We’ve fictionalised names and timelines, and used voice actors to protect their anonymity.

Hear Jermaine’s story

Hear Bisrat’s story

Hear Chantelle’s story

Hear Alisha’s story

Hear Bay’s story

Know the stats

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, which exacerbated existing inequalities and cracks in the system, we’re seeing a disproportionate number of young people from marginalised communities being pushed into crisis.

Last year in London:

  • – Young Black people were 3x more likely to face homelessness than young White people
  • – 19.6% of all households owed prevention relief were aged 18-25
  • – 8.4% of all people sleeping rough were aged 16-25
  • – 18% of young people sleeping rough reported they stayed or slept on buses, bus stops and stations at night
  • – 64% of young people seeking homelessness support experienced mental health difficulties

See our ‘Winter Snapshot’ report for more.

Understand the reality

Youth homelessness is often misunderstood and, for those who are fortunate never to experience it, it can feel difficult to relate to. But for many young people, it’s a lot closer than we think. That’s down to a mix of factors – the current economic climate, individual circumstances and oversight from policymakers and commissioners.

Shockingly, last year in London, 40% of young people were worried about not having a safe or stable place to stay.

Here are just some of the structural and systematic factors that force young people into homelessness every day:

  • – Under the age of 25 = 25% less universal credit but same living costs
  • – Not classed as a priority, or not able to receive statutory support they’re entitled to
  • – Renting is unaffordable due to huge upfront deposits or landlords not accepting benefits
  • – Young people receive around a quarter less welfare benefits when not in (full) employment.
  • – With the current energy price cap of £2,500, a young person living independently will have less than £700 per year (or £13.46 a week) to spend on food, their other bills toiletries, travel and any other essentials.
  • – Don’t receive national living wage
  • – Don’t have family support
  • – Don’t have financial support
  • – Lack of support for students (especially overseas)
  • – School suspensions or exclusions
  • – Undiagnosed mental health or learning needs
  • – Criminal justice system disproportionately impacting certain communities
  • – Domestic violence
  • – Violence or threat of violence at home, in relationships or in the community
  • – Difficult transitions from institutions, e.g., seeking asylum, leaving care or prison
  • – Cuts in preventative services e.g., youth provision or youth clubs
  • – Abuse and neglect because of racism, homophobia, transphobia

“For as long as young people continue to face homelessness in London, we'll be on a mission to give their potential a home.”

Phil Kerry, Chief Executive, NHYC

Stop the bus

At New Horizon Youth Centre, we’re helping to #StopTheBus by supporting young people with:

Icon of a house with a for rent sign outside


Finding young people somewhere safe to stay in the short term while we find them somewhere to call home.

See more
An illustration of a young person in prison sat across the table from an older person.


Supporting young people sleeping rough or in unsafe situations. We also work with young people who are currently in prison, on probation, or going through the court system.

See more
An illustration of a tooth and a stethoscope


Supporting young people to improve their emotional, sexual, and physical health and wellbeing

See more
A man and women cutting vegetables on a table together

Life skills

Training and skills to maintain a home and lead a positive life.

See more
1,221 young people facing homelessness or rough sleeping.
56% had contacted their local authority first and only 7% had received support.
An illustration of a young Black man sat on a comfy bed looking at his phone
73% identified as Black or minority communities
15% identified as LGBTQ+
An illustration of a young Black man sat on a comfy bed looking at his phone
30% . had experienced the care system
39% had unmet mental health needs
14% had educational needs that hadn't been recognised or supported
38% were already in employment when they became homeless
A man carrying a box and a suitcase with big ben in the background
274 were placed into emergency accommodation
266 were supported into permanent accommodation
A man carrying a box and a suitcase with big ben in the background
525 reported improved mental health
457 received advice on financial hardship and benefits

Share and donate

We appreciate that times are tough right now. We want to make it clear that sharing our message and raising awareness of youth homelessness is just as important as making a donation.

Here’s an easy shortcut for sharing our video and campaign message on your social channels.

Facebook –  Twitter –  InstagramLinkedIn

Support our work

By giving just £3, the cost of a return bus journey, you can help us provide young homeless people across London with the services and support that they desperately need.

An illustration of a wallet
£9 could pay for travel needed for a young person to attend job interviews.
£27 could pay for an hour of specialist counselling for a young person who has experienced trauma.
A man carrying a box and a suitcase with big ben in the background
£50 could buy a study backpack for a young person; helping to ease the burden of moving between different areas and short-term accommodation options.
£100 could help give a young person essentials, like a kettle, clean bed sheets, pots and pans, needed to turn a room into a home.
A man carrying a box and a suitcase with big ben in the background
£500 could pay for two late night street outreach sessions per week to locate and support young people sleeping rough.
£600 could provide hot, nutritious meals for a busload of young people every day for a week.
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