Today we welcome the ONS official rough sleeping statistics and are calling on the government to continue its work to end youth homelessness for good.
The latest announcement indicates 110 young people under-25 years old slept rough on a single night in autumn 2021 across England─ a 21% decrease on the previous year.
Despite the decrease, the figures are still of concern for Depaul UK, especially as the cost-of-living crisis threatens young people who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and are at increased risk of becoming homeless.
Daniel Dumoulin, Head of Rough Sleeping for Depaul UK said:
“No young person should be sleeping rough, yet in the UK, youth homelessness affects thousands of people each year. It’s important to remember these numbers are just a snapshot of a single night in 2021, and there is still work to be done. We know that in the just the last three months of 2021, over 200 young people slept rough in London alone.
“While today’s statistics show a positive trend, the reduction we have seen depends on continued Government investment in homelessness services for young people. Young people have very different experiences of homelessness and require targeted interventions to help empower them and get their lives back on track. To meet its commitment of ending rough sleeping within this Parliament, the government must prevent youth homelessness at its source and invest in tailored, age-appropriate accommodation, if not the crisis of homelessness could affect more young people already reeling from the effects of the pandemic.”
Information provided by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN), a multi-agency database recording information about rough sleepers and the wider street population in London, show that in just 3 months to December 231 young people slept rough in London.
Last year, Depaul UK worked with more than 2,000 young people, supporting them to find accommodation, stability, and employment opportunities. The charity provided many of them with emergency accommodation, such as Hotel 1824 in London; the only youth-specific accommodation for young people sleeping rough ─ or on the verge of doing so ─ in the capital.
Hotel 1824, formed in partnership with New Horizon Youth Centre in March 2021, has an on-site team of support workers providing day-to-day and resettlement focused support to young people 24-hours per day, including daily meals, healthcare, help to find work and independent living skills. Since opening less than a year ago, Hotel 1824 has welcomed more than 200 guests and supported many to positively move on to a safe home.
Daniel Dumoulin, Head of Rough Sleeping for Depaul UK continued: “Thanks to investment in projects like Hotel 1824 in London, we are able to keep young people safe and are supporting them to move on positively into long-term accommodation. Clearly this demonstrates a vital need for long-term, youth-specific solutions that empower young people and give them hope for a brighter future.”
Depaul UK operates services across England, in London, the North East, Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire. The charity helps thousands of young people to move on to safer, more stable accommodation.