The Together Alliance aims to seek and take forward the collaborative solutions that can prevent and respond to youth homelessness. Its 'Housing Solutions' report, funded by the Berkeley Foundation, has identified three projects for youth homelessness charities and housing associations to take forward together.
Together is an alliance of youth homelessness charities and housing associations which came together with a shared goal: to find and take forward the collaborative solutions for young people facing homelessness. The organisations involved include members of the Housing Association Youth Network (Clarion Housing, Hyde Housing, Metropolitan Thames Valley, Network Homes, Peabody), the London Youth Gateway (New Horizon, akt, Depaul UK, Stonewall Housing), HACT and Safer London.
Supported by the Berkeley Foundation, the alliance commissioned research in order to understand how to make more effective use of the its collective assets (homes, support, funding and expertise) to create better pathways for supporting young people into stable accommodation, as well as preventing them from becoming homeless in the first place.
A mixture of personal and structural factors can lead to youth homelessness, from family breakdown to poverty and the lack of affordable accommodation. The complexity of these issues means that no charity or housing provider can solve the problem alone. Working together the alliance has agreed to take forward three projects:
Project 1 - Someone to talk to: To prevent young people who are housing association tenants from becoming homeless by having processes and/or people in their organisations that can support young people's tenancy sustainment. This project will be led by the housing association members of the alliance.
Project 2 - Some support to pay: To support young people while they are experiencing homelessness the alliance wants to create a flexible funding pot of money that can be distributed directly and swiftly to assist with immediate needs. This project will be led by the youth homelessness charity members of the alliance.
Project 3 - Somewhere to stay: To provide young people with a good next step once they leave emergency accommodation by making underused housing stock available to support young people who are experiencing homelessness. This will be a joint project.
Amidst growing numbers of young people sleeping rough during the pandemic and family relationships strained under lockdown, this task is even more urgent.
We know that the pandemic has and will continue to disproportionately affect young people's mental health, employment prospects, and housing options. New Horizon Youth Centre found that between July and September 2020 there was a 26% increase in young people claiming benefits when they came to the organisation for help when compared to the same period last year. Calls to Centrepoint's helpline have almost doubled since the beginning of lockdown with those from young people sleeping rough and without anywhere to stay at all have more than doubled. Official rough sleeping records for London show a more 80% increase in young people rough sleeping in the capital between April and June 2020, compared to the same time last year.
The full report is available to read here.