Starting out as a night shelter, Centrepoint’s work with young people has evolved beyond all recognition over the last 50 years.
In the centre of London’s Soho in December 1969, the Revered Ken Leech opened a night shelter in the basement of his church to give young homeless people a safe place to sleep. Towering over Soho was the Centre Point building, left empty to make money for property developers. Incensed by this “affront to the homeless”, Ken Leech called his shelter Centrepoint.
In the 1970s, we expanded to take on a hostel and bedsits and we had our first housing pathway for young people out of homelessness. Our services are what make Centrepoint so special, we focus on giving young people not just a bed for a night but a home where they can reclaim their future with the support of our dedicated frontline workers.
Over the years we have grown, offering services around the country and developing truly innovative approaches to help young people. We work in partnership with other charities all over the UK, we learn from each other and we join forces to call for change. We know we can’t end youth homelessness alone – it will take collaboration and systemic change but we believe we can do it and are committed to ending youth homelessness.
We started with one small shelter, now we support more than 2,000 young people every day through our floating support, rough sleeping and resettlement services but with more than 129,000 young people experiencing homelessness last year – we’re needed more than ever.
Back in 1969 our founders looked at the number of young people sleeping on the streets of London and instead of saying ‘something should be done’ they thought ‘what can I do?’ From this attitude Centrepoint was born and while the way we deliver our services have changed, we remain true to our roots – supporting young people out of homelessness and on to the future they rightfully deserve.