At Depaul UK, we’ve never seen things so bad.
Staff tell me that young people are saying they haven’t eaten for days. Some are sitting in their rooms in the dark, unable to afford the electricity to shower, others are living without basics like toiletries or enough clothing.
These vulnerable young people, who have experienced homelessness and who have already come so far to secure their futures, are now struggling to keep their lives on track.
This is why, today, I am making an urgent appeal to you for donations to stop young people from falling back into homelessness because of the rising cost-of-living.
The young people in our services are used to living on very little money but however much they try to stretch their budget and however much we at Depaul help them to get better at managing their finances, rising costs mean that it’s simply not enough. Many are now only a stone’s throw away from becoming homeless again.
Data published by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau tells an alarming story about how the cost of living is affecting young people. Almost 10 times as many people aged under 25 are accessing help from charities compared to three years ago. Five times as many are being referred to food banks and 12 times as many require help with energy costs.
At Depul UK we surveyed people aged between 18 and 34 years old in three areas we work – Newcastle, Greater Manchester and London. The survey revelaed over half of people are worried about eviction due to the cost-of-living crisis.
One young woman, Zara, who is 18, living in supported accommodation after a traumatic childhood and at college, training to be a chef, told us, “It’s embarrassing to say to people I don’t have enough food. If you don’t have the money to eat, then you don’t really have a chance.”
If a young person can’t make ends meet, they risk eviction and the devastating possibility of returning to homelessness. We cannot allow this to happen. Out there, they are exposed to criminal exploitation – dangers of county lines and sexual abuse are very real, as is the threat of worsening mental health – and, above all, what’s at stake is their hope for a better future.
Depaul UK’s mission is to end homelessness. We are doing everything in our power to prevent each and every young person from falling back into homelessness.
For more than 30 years, Depaul UK has worked alongside courageous young people to build better futures for themselves. They have gone on to find fulfilling work – from care workers to teaching assistants to engineers to hairdressers – and to build fulfilling lives as parents and community volunteers.
With rising poverty levels, the need for our services is now increasing dramatically and we need to respond to this urgently.
But we can’t do this without help from supporters. We urgently need donations to cover the hugely increased costs in a young person’s daily life. Please take a look at this video recorded by some of our staff working directly with the most vulnerable in our society – their accounts are much more powerful than what I can convey here:
I know that times are very tough for many but if you can spare anything, please help us with a donation today.
Here’s how your donations can help: