No young person should be living on the streets or have no place to call their own home.
And yet the reality is that more than 100,000 reach out to their local authority because they are either homeless or at risk of being so.
The homeless crisis has been compounded by the rise of youth unemployment and the global coronavirus pandemic which has had a major impact on everything from family life to mental health.
Clearly, for a charity like Centrepoint the youth homeless issue isn’t just about finding a home for a vulnerable young person; it is about creating a framework for a new and better life.
This is why Centrepoint always aims to provide more than just a place to stay.
However, while the priority will always be to find shelter and support for those aged between 16 and 25, the charity has entered the most ambitious phase in its 50-year existence.
It aims to end youth homelessness by the year 2037, the date by which the next generation turn 16 and may need their help.
Its strategy ‘Change the Story: Ending Youth Homelessness All Together’ sets out how Centrepoint intends to achieve this with a project involving building new permanent homes and expanding its partnerships.
Under the scheme, homeless individuals aged between 16 and 25 are given a job and a place to live in response to the social housing shortage.
Earlier this year, Southwark council approved a scheme which involves building 33 single-occupancy modular homes in Peckham on the site of eight old apartment blocks at a cost of £50,000 each.
The first stage of the Independent Living programme, at 54 Lugard Road in SE15, is now transforming the site into modular units split over two blocks of three stories as well as a communal garden, bike shed, and seating area.
Centrepoint has also appointed British entrepreneur and investor Javad Marandi, together with financier Jamie Reuben as co-chairs of the Growth Board.
The duo’s intention is to find innovative solutions to help Centrepoint end youth homelessness.
The Growth Board is there to advise Centrepoint’s senior staff and help raise essential funds, secure land and property development opportunities, as well as attract ethical employers that can provide apprenticeships and entry-level jobs.
In their role, Javad Marandi and Jamie Reuben will establish and grow the board to garner top-level public and private sector support and ensure Centrepoint succeeds in delivering this exciting programme.
Five things Centrepoint does
- Provides safe, warm rooms
Centrepoint provides housing and support for young people regionally in London, Manchester, Yorkshire and the North East and through partnerships all over the UK. As the UK’s leading youth homelessness charity, it runs over 60 accommodation services working in 15 boroughs in London, Sunderland, Manchester, Bradford and Barnsley.
- Deals with the mental and physical impact of homelessness
Good health is key to taking the next step and Centrepoint’s in-house health service is there to give young people access to tailored support, where and when it suits them.
- Prepares young people for a career
It’s not enough for a young person to be given somewhere to live; it’s also important to ensure that they can support themselves. For that reason, Centrepoint works with them on employment opportunities. There are employability programmes, functional skills training, and other learning initiatives designed specifically for people looking for work or to progress in their chosen career. Qualified trainers support young people throughout their individual journeys. Centrepoint’s work programmes are available to unemployed young people beyond those in Centrepoint hostels.
- Prepares young people to move on
For many young people, when they step into their new home it will be the first time they’ve had to live alone. To ensure that they don’t feel isolated, Centrepoint supports them for six months, ensuring they have the right life skills to cope with things like household budgets and paying bills.
- Takes political action
Centrepoint focuses on areas of policy including housing, family and health. Campaigning to ensure homeless young people are getting the right support when it comes to their benefits and personal finance, education, skills, and employment opportunities. It also collects data about youth homelessness to provide an insight into the type of interactions young people are having with local councils and what support is being offered.