Centrepoint, supported by The Co-operative Bank, are calling for substantial additional steps to help young people at risk of becoming homeless.
This follows recent research by The Co-operative Bank and Centrepoint which highlighted the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the financial wellbeing of young people, showing the scale of financial insecurity amongst those aged 16-24.
The research underlined the need for additional support for young people, and showed that a quarter of those aged 16-24 (which equates to 1.8 million people) were concerned that if they lost their income, they could be made homeless, whilst a further third of young people think they could be without a safe place to live if they didn’t have help from friends, family or support services.
In the North West of England, research found that 1 in 4 young people could be made homeless if they lost their main source of income, while 32% are worried about the insecurity of their own living situation if they or someone in their household lost their income. In addition less than a third of young people in the North West feel confident their job is safe.
Centrepoint are asking for a £1 billion programme of long-term investment in homelessness services and support and
maintaining a higher Universal Credit standard allowance for under-25s living independently without family support
Homeless young people should be able to access adequate financial support for housing costs and work should pay for homeless young people in supported accommodation
Bringing forward exemptions to the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) for homeless young people and care leavers and maintaining and uprating LHA in line with the 30th percentile of local market rents, will drastically help those in need of support with housing costs. For those in work, reintroducing a work allowance within Universal Credit and increasing the applicable amount within Housing Benefit for young people in supported accommodation will also ensure work pays.
Seyi Obakin, Chief Executive, Centrepoint, comments: “This research highlights once again the difficulties faced by young people, amid rising unemployment and increases in rough sleeping.
“The government has created schemes to help retrain young people and help them to find work but it’s vital that these solutions work for all young people, including those we support in our services. With an uncertain winter and Christmas period approaching there has never been a more important time for Centrepoint to be fighting to give young people a vibrant future.”
Darrell Evans, Managing Director, Retail Banking, The Co-operative Bank, comments: “Youth homelessness is an issue that is sadly not going away without a significant level of co-ordinated action, and as a long-term partner of Centrepoint, we will continue to support the charity in achieving its objective of eradicating youth homelessness. We are proud to have sponsored Centrepoint’s recent STAY:UP event, and are pleased that the Bank has raised over £50,000 in its support of the initiative.
“Since we began our partnership with Centrepoint, the Bank has raised a total of £1.6 million in support of its aims. As we face further months of uncertainty, with the prospect of increased hardship for many people, it is important that additional measures are put in place as soon as possible which effectively address the causes of homelessness.”