Today we launch Danger Zones and Stepping Stones: Phase Three – the third and final report of a five-year research project examining the risks young people face when experiencing homelessness and in temporary accommodation.

As we do so, our CEO Mike Thiedke warns that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic may place thousands more young people at risk of harm, when they are experiencing homelessness.

Mike warned: “Covid is placing thousands of young people at risk of harm and abuse.

“Tens of thousands of young people in the UK are finding themselves jobless through the economic impact of Covid, and the signs are there that youth homelessness is increasing.”

We know from our research at Depaul UK that young people facing homelessness often become the victims of abuse, including emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

Mike added: “As the days get shorter and the weather colder, desperate young people are being forced to sleep in dangerous places. If we’re not careful, the current pandemic could place thousands more young people at risk of harm and abuse.”

“It’s vital that those facing homelessness receive the necessary support to escape homelessness, stay safe and move into stable accommodation.”

The Danger Zones and Stepping Stones research project began five years ago and comprises three reports.

This latest report explores the risks young people face when living in Temporary Living Arrangements, and is designed to help the homelessness sector to meet better the needs of young people experiencing homelessness.

In previous Danger Zones reports, we found that 55 percent of young people with experience of living in Temporary Living Arrangements had experienced some form of harm while there. This harm was particularly pronounced among women and those identifying as LGBTQ+.

We’re calling for the Government to do more to prevent youth homelessness, and on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to fund a national youth homelessness prevention programme, as well as ensuring that there is sufficient safe and supportive accommodation available for young people who become homeless.