Youth homelessness is unacceptable. The destruction of lifelong potential should not be inflicted on any child, and yet in the UK there is no direct funding to protect young people from this.
In this evaluation report (pdf)
, Sage Foundation demonstrates that young people in the UK can be protected from homelessness, and that prevention is not just affordable – it costs a fraction of the alternative.
Take a look at our short video clip
about the model we applied to prevent homelessness.
All 11 young people involved in our Newcastle pilot were supported into a safe and stable situation. Seven are in their family home and the other four are in secure independent accommodation.
If those 11 young people had become homeless, the cost to the state would have been around £110,000 per year.
Business has a role to play in keeping young people off the streets. By spending our own corporate funds, we can be nimble, able to apply our efficiency and speed to market processes; find the gaps in a system and create change.
We developed this pilot, A Place to Call Home with a focus on showing that funding prevention works.
We funded Family Gateway’s Barefoot Professionals who successfully intervened in the family life of 11 young people at risk of homelessness. And we have extended the programme to help a further 13 families.
We took a professional approach to the structure of this pilot, as we would with any Sage tech innovation. But beneath this was heart-felt concern for the individual young people we were supporting and a sincere desire to make.
We began by conducting a study into the causes of homelessness to help us pinpoint how we could make a difference. While it may seem absurd to commission research to find out the obvious: that young people at risk of homelessness and their families are in need of support, we were committed to taking an evidence-led approach to our work, and to putting young people’s voices at the forefront of our approach.
A great deal of research led us to the Barefoot Professional model delivered by Family Gateway. This model works because it employs and trains local parents who have experienced the same or similar issues – giving them the unique ability to earn a family’s trust and respect, help a family accept their underlying issues, and then address them.
A staggering number of young people comprise the hidden homeless in the UK: 255,000 with no guarantee about where they will sleep each night. This is in addition to 30,000 turned away by local authorities when they seek support
For us the ideal trajectory for the young people we are supporting leads to continued education, possibly an apprenticeship or higher education, and delivery into secure, rewarding work, with us or another responsible and supportive employer.
Our concern will not diminish, our work in the field will continue to evolve, and we will remain committed to the roll out of programmes that keep young people more than safe and warm, but also able to dream big and realise their ambitions.
If you’d like any more information about this please email [email protected]