At Depaul UK we are committed to ending youth homelessness. Our services not only strive to prevent young people from falling into homelessness to begin with but also aim to ensure that safe and supportive accommodation is available to those who have nowhere else to turn.
Over the past nine months Covid-19 has presented great challenges to our services and the young people who are supported by them.
Throughout this period we have remained committed to promoting the voices and perspectives of the young people who we work with. By engaging with, and learning from, those with firsthand experience of housing instability, we hope to respond to Covid-19 in a way that keeps young people safe from the virus itself and empowers them to take steps out of homelessness and towards suitable accommodation.
There is growing evidence to suggest that while many of us are experiencing challenges due to Covid-19, vulnerable young people, such as those in our services, are feeling the negative consequences of the pandemic particularly acutely.
In response to the first lockdown, the Government took positive action by providing all people experiencing rough sleeping with emergency accommodation through the “Everyone In” initiative.
However, as the pandemic continues, growing evidence suggests that youth homelessness is rising. In London alone, 368 young people aged from 16 to 25 were found to be experiencing street homelessness between July and September this year – a 47 percent increase compared to the same quarter of 2019 6.
This statistic suggests that many young people, who are already in precarious housing situations, may well be being pushed into homelessness as a result of Covid-19.
This report presents the findings of a research study that explored how the pandemic is impacting young people in our services. The research not only sought to uncover prominent issues experienced by young people that have been caused or exacerbated by the pandemic, but also aimed to understand how these issues may result in an increased likelihood of homelessness.
We hope that the insights in this report will support the sector to respond to the pandemic in a way that minimises the ongoing threat of the virus itself and protects young people from homelessness and the dangers associated with it.