‘Building homes by itself won’t end homelessness’: 100 charities call on Government to end youth homelessness

A South London charity has joined 100 youth and youth homelessness organisations calling on the Government to put a stop to spiralling numbers of young people without a home.

The group has created a petition – which has collected 7,431 signatures so far – urging the Government to implement a national strategy which prioritises prevention, finances and housing to tackle the crisis.

Jon Deakin, 47, from Sutton, is head of business development at one of the charities backing the petition, Evolve Housing and Support.

Evolve provides supported accommodation for people experiencing homelessness across South London, with support centres in Sylvan Hill, Crystal Palace, Alexandra House and Akabusi Close in Croydon, and Kingston Road in Wimbledon.

Mr Deakin said: “We’ve noticed a lot more enquiries from young people (under the age of 25) and we’re seeing a lot more young people on the streets.

“We have 450 properties and they’re constantly full.

“Young people are struggling to afford private rental, people at university are being asked for six months’ rent in advance with a guarantor. They can’t do it and have to come to us for support.”

Across the UK, youth homelessness levels are soaring. According to homeless charity Centrepoint, 136,000 16 to 24-year-olds faced homelessness last year – a five per cent increase from the year before. But experts say the true number could be double that figure.

Jon Deakin says many young people do not approach the council to report their homelessness (Picture: Jon Deakin)

Mr Deakin said: “There are lots of people in hidden homelessness – young people not approaching the council but sleeping on friends’ sofas.

“Even when they do reach out to the council the responses are often complicated and long or may require personal information, people give up.”

Evolve also offers a health and well-being service, work and learning programmes and works with young parents and children at risk of exclusion from school.

Mr Deakin said: “Councils are underfunded but their decisions to cancel youth clubs and health support has led to a point where young people are without a home or living in overcrowded accommodation. 

“This has put huge pressure on young people, with many already struggling with mental health.

“Building homes by itself won’t end homelessness – we need trauma support and services for emotional wellbeing to help people not fall into difficult situations.”

A spokeswoman from the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities said: “Everyone deserves a safe and decent place to call home. Since 2010, we have delivered over 684,800 new affordable homes, including over 171,100 homes for social rent and our £11.5billion Affordable Homes Programme is delivering even more.

“We’re making the private rented sector fairer through the Renters Reform Bill, which includes abolishing Section 21 evictions so tenants have greater security in their homes. We’re also spending £1billion to tackle homelessness and get families into permanent accommodation.”

The petition to the government can be found here:

Pictured top: Young people have faced a five per cent increase in homelessness in the last year, but experts say the true figure could be nearly double (Picture: PA)

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