Youth Homelessness Scoping Report published
Earlier this month Homeless Link published our Youth Homelessness Scoping Report. Informed by conversations with professionals and organisations working with young people, the report explores why young people become homeless and the impact this experience has on them.
We highlight some of the key themes below.
Young people face structural disadvantages that can limit their access to, and ability to sustain, accommodation.
Young people face a disproportionate risk of poverty and destitution, reductions in welfare benefit entitlements and discrimination in the housing and labour markets. Alongside this, austerity measures and welfare reform changes significantly impact young people. Together, these factors put young people at particular risk of homelessness and insecure housing.
Young people’s pathways into, and experiences of, homelessness are complex and differ to adults
The transition from childhood to adulthood is a time of significant emotional, cognitive and physical development. Experiences of trauma and disadvantage, including homelessness, during this formative time can adversely impact this transition. We need to provide support to effectively respond to these unique experiences and needs.
Some young people are at particular risk due to further experiences of discrimination and or/disadvantage
Young people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, who identify as LGBTQ+, who are asylum seekers or refugees and who have left institutional care are all at greater risk of becoming homeless.
Experiences of homelessness intersects with other disadvantage and discrimination like racism, gendered violence or hate crime. It impacts how young people interact with systems, services and professionals and their pathways in to homelessness. It is important to understand and support young people holistically; acknowledging how all these disadvantages interrelate with homelessness.
Young people’s experiences of homelessness can both precede and follow mental ill health, offending behaviour, substance use and violence and abuse.
Young people accessing homelessness services increasingly experience multiple disadvantage; entering services often at crisis point with multiple and interrelated needs. Placing young people in inappropriate or under-resourced services, which may lack appropriate support, places them at greater risk of exploitation, deteriorating mental health and offending/anti-social behaviour.
Personal connections and emotional support are key protective factors that support young people into adulthood and more independence.
We heard that support should be flexible, strengths based, person-led, and not time restricted. Psychologically informed environments and trauma informed care are both approaches that should be developed and utilised to support young people.
The scoping report will be used to inform our youth homelessness project; identifying our priorities so that we can support and represent our members to improve youth homelessness responses and prevention. Please sign up to our mailing list if you would like to be kept up to date on our work around young people and homelessness.
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