Hidden homelessness in Young People
This research explores how young people reach a state of homelessness.
YouthNet led a six month, collaborative research project with leading housing experts and young people to explore the role that digital support can play in supporting those young people experiencing homelessness.
Homelessness in young people is most often the result of family breakdown driven by arguments precipitated by cultural differences, abuse, bereavement or the arrival of a new partner.
Many young people describe themselves as ‘always angry’ and as a result find it hard to make reasoned decisions about their lives and prone to rash reactions when under stress.
Many young people who have experienced homelessness describe feeling like outsiders – isolated and set apart from peers at school or their family even before they leave home.
Many young people who experience homelessness describe feeling trapped and with no future. They feel that leaving home was the only way they could regain control over their lives.
When young people leave home or get thrown out, it is almost always very sudden, leaving them unprepared for a life without a roof over their head and often without warm clothes or money.
When young people are sofa surfing or staying in temporary accommodation, they feel so deeply ashamed that they keep their real circumstances hidden, preventing them from getting the help and support they need.
The longer young people spend “sofa surfing” or living in precarious or insecure accommodation, the more their ability to cope and recover from their situation suffers.
The isolation that comes with having no where permanent to stay is terrifying. It comes with a sense that no one knows where they are, what they are doing or even whether they are alive.
Many young people talk about the sheer boredom of the unstructured days when homeless.
Even when they are no longer homeless, the feeling of homelessness never leaves young people and they are left facing real challenges in finding a way forward with their lives. Read more
There are some 80,000 young people identified as homeless in the UK. YouthNet was concerned that changes to the welfare benefits system, the lack of affordable housing stock and more challenging jobs market would combine to turn this tragedy into a crisis of homelessness for a generation.
YouthNet received funding from the Nominet Trust to explore the following challenges:
To develop information and support that helped young people understand the factors that may lead to homelessness.
To identify how we could transform the existing support offered to young people on their housing issues using a more holistic approach (for example, by helping them unpick interconnecting issues).
To explore how digital can help by identifying where digital services are valuable, how they complement other services and where there is overlap
To make recommendations for development of TheSite and associated digital products to address homeslessness.
Cycle of Innovation Event
Workshops and Personas
We ran workshops with young people utilizing personas to gain insight into their world and the issues that affected them.
Many thanks to the following organisations and young people for their contributions…
Nicholas Coomber- London LGBT Jigsaw Worker
Sam Clarke – Senior Participation Officer
Matthew Wilk – Head of Marketing and Communications
Gemma Hampson – Digital Communications Manager
Val Keen – Director of Service Development
Rachel Sparks – Helpline Officer
Merlin Sibley – Digital Communications Manager
Sam Goldthorpe – Account Manger
Thomas Humeau – Designer
Dr Will Venters – Lecturer
Richard Griffith – Youth Development Coordinator
Douglas Robb – Director
Anne Limbert – Advice Agency Practitioner
Raj Roy – Digital Marketing Manager
Tamzin Taylor-Rosser – National Youth Reference Group Coordinator
Jean Templeton – CEO
Kathy Oldridge and Sarah Snoxall from Antennae
The event panellists:
Chair: Dan Sutch - Head of Development Research, Nominet Trust
Billy Dann - UK Programme Manager, Comic Relief
Emma Thomas - Chief Executive, YouthNet
Dr Will Venters - Lecturer in Information Systems, LSE
Richard Griffith - Youth Development Co-ordinator, Peabody Trust
YouthNet also wishes to thank TheSite’s leaders, The National Youth Reference Group, The Centrepoint Parliament and all of the other young people who took part in workshops and completed surveys.