Youth homelessness: What are we doing about it?
Simone Newman manages Safestop, one of our hostels in Manchester. Here she talks about the issue of youth homelessness in the UK.
Is youth homelessness still a problem? There doesn’t seem to be many rough sleepers? Hidden homelessness is as big a problem as ever; young people often sleep on friends’ or relatives’ floors for months before entering the homelessness system.
What do you think are the main causes of youth homelessness? Family breakdown plays a huge part. Many of the young people we work with have fragmented family relationships. This is often due to overcrowding, not getting on with a step-parent, or domestic violence. Problems with drugs, criminal activity and mental illness are common problems that parents feel unequipped to deal with. Without appropriate support it is very easy for the young person to find themselves homeless. Quite often there can be an expectation from parents that at 16 a young person should be able to live independently. But with council
page 3 Safe&Sound
waiting lists that are years long, it is unlikely that they would be housed in their own flat, unless their situation is considered a priority. Private landlords are also reluctant to rent to under 18’s.
Housing in general is also a big
problem; there just isn’t enough of it! We could fill Safestop time and again.
How common is rough sleeping or sofa surfing? At least 70% of the young people we assess will have slept rough at some point. Including sofa surfing, the number is probably a lot higher.
Tell us about Safestop and the kind of service you provide for young people. At Safestop we take referrals from various services in Manchester. We accept young people that other supported housing providers will not take due to their offences and perceived risk. Safestop was initially set up to
provide very short stay placements. In reality there is a shortage of
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16