FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday 18 April 2023
New survey finds that more than half of people surveyed living across the North West are worried* about eviction due to increased cost of living and over 3 in 4 struggle to afford the basics**
Youth homelessness charity Depaul UK launches an urgent appeal to help young people at risk of homelessness rebuild their lives.
A youth homelessness charity has launched an urgent appeal to help prevent young people living in the North West falling back into homelessness.
A new survey by Depaul UK highlights how vulnerable people across the North West are struggling to keep their lives on track because of rising costs. It found that more than half (55 per cent) of people surveyed in the North West are worried* about eviction due to increased cost of living, and over 3 in 4 (77%) said they’re struggling to afford the basics**, including food, heating and travel.
In addition, the survey found that over 1 in 3 (34%) people surveyed across the region have experienced increased conflict in the home in the past 18 months because of financial worries***. Over 1 in 3 (34%) respondents also revealed that they’ve not attended vital appointments regarding jobs, housing or benefits because they’ve been unable to afford travel costs, lacked phone charge or lacked phone credit.
Simone Newman Area Director for the North, Depaul UK said:
“These figures are deeply concerning, but not surprising. We’re witnessing the effects of the cost-of-living crisis daily. What’s so worrying is the huge threat to the futures of young people across the North West, especially those trying hard to rebuild their lives after homelessness.
“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, because out there they are exposed to increased risks around criminal exploitation, poor mental health and loss of hope for a better future.
“Many young people experiencing homelessness who have managed to come so far to secure their future are now struggling to keep their lives on track because of increased living costs. That’s why our team works hard to help them as much as possible, but demand for our services has never been greater. We urgently need donations to cover the increased costs to support young people experiencing homelessness.”
Crystal, 19, has just moved into her own place in Stockport and is worried about how the cost-of-living is going to affect her progress so far. She said:
“I was in care and foster homes much of my childhood, the longest placement I had was a year and a half, but when I turned 18 it was as if things changed overnight, and suddenly you’re an adult expected to know everything about budgeting and living independently. Earlier this year, despite what’s happened between us, I moved back in with my mum, but she kicked me out due to an argument, and I was classed as homeless. I told my care worker – and it didn’t take them long to get an emergency bed for me. I didn’t have much privacy at the place I stayed, which wasn’t ideal being a teenage girl, but privacy or not a bed was a bed, and I knew I was safe.
“I’ve been through a lot in my life but I’ve always been quite grown up, because I’ve had to be. I feel a bit old before my time.
“Depaul UK has been a huge support to me since I’ve transitioned out of the care system, and have helped me find emergency accommodation, budget and they’ve also supported me with my mental health. I’ve been supported by the charity for around two years, and even though I’ve got my own flat now, they make sure I’m OK, help with my self-esteem, with budgeting, so I can pay my bills, and don’t fall back into old habits, and best of all, they help me stay hopeful.
“Looking to the future, I’d really like to become an apprentice tattooist, as I love art, and I’d also like to support young people by giving inspirational talks in schools and stuff. I know how easy it is to fall into bad groups of friends, and form trauma-bonds just because it’s all you know, but I’d like to share my story with other young people, so they know help is out there, and life can be good.”
Jason***, 20 who currently lives in Oldham said he’s been ‘living all over’ since the age of 14, including a period of rough sleeping in his teens. He said:
“I’ve been on and off the streets and all over since the age of 14. One of the worst times I’ve had was when I was 17 – I slept rough in a carpark for a few nights and it was a really scary experience. Some of the other people who were sleeping rough were older, and they all knew each other, which made it worse – I felt very unsafe, alone and depressed.
“I moved in with a family member temporarily but they started to be abusive towards me, so I had to leave. After a while, I found Depaul. I had nothing in my pockets, and nowhere to go but thanks to their support I was able to eventually find accommodation, and I’ve not looked back.
“These days, I have far more up days than down. I’m living with more stability, in supported accommodation as part of a flat share, and I’m working full time as a translator. My mental health has never been better and I’m really hopeful about the future. My long-term goal is to make lots of money so I can retire early, but in the meantime I’d like to get a driver’s licence and my own place. I also want other young people to hear this, and know that no matter what, things can and do get better because there are people out there, like those who work with Depaul, who really care about you.”
In support of the appeal, Sir Trevor McDonald, Depaul UK Patron said:
“For more than 20 years I have been proudly associated with Depaul UK and the problem of homelessness is as acute today as it was then. Please join me in supporting this campaign to tackle the devastating impact of the cost-of-living crisis on young people.”
Depaul UK provides mental health support, financial assistance and money management advice, it tries to get people better utility deals and supports them to deal with arrears. The charity helps people access food banks and apply for hardship funds, but demand for all of these services is growing rapidly.
You can donate to Depaul UK’s Cost of Living Crisis appeal to help keep a young person from falling back into homelessness by visiting www.depaul.org.uk/urgent-appeal-cost-of-living-crisis
This video by Depaul UK explains more about how the cost-of-living is affecting young people: www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCu_FfIcG9E
Notes to Editors
For more case studies, interviews and photographs please contact Communications@depaul.org.uk
The survey was carried out on behalf of Depaul UK with 2,002 respondents aged 16-34 from the North East, North West and London. There were 667 respondents from the North West.
*Combination of those who answered “Very worried” and “Worried”
** Combination of those who answered “Frequently”, “Regularly” and “Sometimes”
*** 99 per cent combination of those who answered “A significant amount”, “A fair amount” or “A small amount”
**** Names changed to protect identity of Depaul clients
About Depaul UK