Surge in Homeless Young People
Youth Homelessness. Okay, so here’s the deal – there’s been a crazy spike in the number of young people facing homelessness in the UK since Christmas, and charities are waving big red flags about it.
London’s Record Requests for Help
The New Horizon Youth Centre in London spilled the beans, saying they hit a record number of desperate young people seeking help in just the first week of January. That’s not a good start to the year.
Referrals Pouring In
The charity Akt, doing its thing to support homeless LGBTQ+ youth, chimed in too. They mentioned getting more referrals in a month than they usually get. Something’s definitely off.
Coalition of Charities Demands Action
Now, get this – a whopping 120 charities joined forces, forming the #PlanForThe136k coalition. Why the name? Well, it points to an estimate of 136,000 homeless young people in 2023. These charities are dropping the hammer, calling on the government to cook up a solid national strategy to put an end to youth homelessness. They even started a petition, rallying people to force a response from the ministers. That’s some serious teamwork!
Rising Numbers Cause Major Concern
Research from Centrepoint estimates that around 135,800 young folks hit up their council for help in 2022-23, and Shelter predicted an extra 40,000 people of all ages would be homeless at Christmas. But now, there’s serious worry because the numbers keep climbing.
Phil Kerry from New Horizon Drops Truth Bombs
Phil Kerry, the head honcho at New Horizon, didn’t sugarcoat it. He straight-up said, “We can see this is spiralling rapidly.” The center, which he claims is the only open-access spot in London for homeless folks under 25, is dealing with some heavy traffic. By the start of last week, they’d already helped 142 people, compared to the usual 63 per week. That’s some serious urgency.
Youth Disadvantages and Lower Resources
Kerry pointed out a tough truth – young people going homeless often have fewer resources. Why? Well, the minimum wage is lower for those under 23, and those under 25 get lower benefit payments. It’s like starting a race with a handicap.
Hayley Speed at Akt Sees Demand Skyrocket
Over at Akt, Hayley Speed spilled the beans on how their specialist services for homeless LGBTQ+ youth are blowing up. Requests in the first week of January already hit numbers they’d usually expect over an entire month. Double trouble, indeed.
Roundabout in Sheffield and YMCA Trinity Feel the Heat
It’s not just London; Roundabout in Sheffield and YMCA Trinity in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk are feeling the heat too. Roundabout’s Sheffield center is apparently the busiest it’s ever been, with chief executive Ben Keegan saying they had to snag some former student accommodation just to keep up. And YMCA Trinity is dealing with a rising demand for youth housing services, with young people coming in with complex needs, including mental health issues.
Kate Polson from Rock Trust in Scotland Chimes In
Over in Scotland, Kate Polson from Rock Trust had her say. She pointed out that young people are getting a double whammy – likely to be in insecure, low-paid jobs and less likely to have savings and references. Addressing this is key to putting an end to youth homelessness, she says.