girl independent living

Independent Living Programme

Centrepoint's most ambitious programme to date. Creating homes, jobs and training with the support young people need when they are ready to live independently.

The need

Youth homelessness is reaching crisis point. Every year over 100,000 young people ask for help because they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The reasons why are complex, but for many being at home simply is not safe.

girl on laptop

The issue

Centrepoint’s accommodation-based support helps young people move-on from homelessness and reach a level of independence where they can move into longer-term accommodation with minimal or no support.

But right now 1 in 5 young people are ready to move into independence but can’t do so because of:

  • Low wages, higher rates of unemployment and insecure employment;
  • High rents and upfront costs, particularly in cities like London and Manchester;
  • Lack of social housing;
  • Lower benefit rates for young people, even those that have been homeless;
  • Private landlords not willing to lend to young people, particularly those who have lived in supported accommodation.

This affects the ability of supported housing providers to take on new young people in need of support, and can have damaging impacts on the wellbeing, development and progress made toward independence of those young people struggling to move on.

The statistics

Homeless young people often miss out on education and without qualifications or training, it’s even harder to find a job. It can be a never-ending cycle. With the right support and opportunities, young people can break the cycle of homelessness, but it isn't easy. 


48% of all landlords require a cash deposit from a prospective tenant equal to or less than one month’s rent, and 32 per cent required a deposit greater than the value of a month’s rent.


Only 21% of private landlords would be willing to let to a young person moving on from homelessness accommodation.


543,000 of 16-24 year old's were unemployed in June 2020. 

Jamie's story

At just 16, Jamie was referred to Centrepoint by social services. Since then, she sought help from Centrepoint on four different occasions over a period of six years and we were able to offer Jamie some stability amongst the chaos. Jamie has now moved on from Centrepoint and has recently completed her Masters in Dance. She is in the process of setting up an outreach expression workshop at Centrepoint to support current residents.

The solution

We want to break the cycle of youth homelessness. The solution is simple: a home, a job and the support they need to keep both. Every year we support over 14,000 young people, and this year we are launching our most ambitious programme to date: Independent Living, so young people can leave homelessness behind for good.

girl laptop work

The Independent Living Programme

Centrepoint has always been there for homeless young people and those at risk. We have already helped thousands on a journey to independence, but we are now launching our most ambitious and transformative programme ever - Independent Living – our solution to breaking the cycle of young homelessness - permanently.

Independent Living is a step change in how we help young people on their journey through life. Over the next 10 years, we will transform the lives of the thousands of young people who need a helping hand to take the important but challenging first step to full independence by providing them a home to call their own. 

We make housing truly affordable for young people by delivering our Independent Living model of linking accommodation and jobs, and rent and income, as well as by promoting the model for other organisations to deliver.

We aim to never charge a young person more than 1/3 of their salary as rent. This would typically mean a young person in London earning £18,000 per year would not pay more than £500 per month (according to HomeLet the current Average rent in London in September  2019 was £1665).

We aim to deliver 300 homes in London and Greater Manchester by 2021


Independent Living Programme


Providing a home

A safe place to live is the vital first step to towards independence. Centrepoint will create 300 new homes to start thousands of young people on their journey and transform their lives forever.


Creating a career 

Getting a job and building a career is also a vital ingredient. Our aim is to provide all the training and opportunities needed for young people without a job to start building a career and take the next step to full independence.

Happy young woman chats to a Centrepoint member of staff.

Support to keep both

Keeping a home and a job requires vital life skills many young homeless people lack. Centrepoint will provide continuing support to ensure those we help move on to become fully independent - forever.

We make housing truly affordable for young people by delivering our Independent Living model of linking accommodation and jobs, and rent and income, as well as by promoting the model for other organisations to deliver.” 

Seyi Obakin OBE, Centrepoint CEO

Why Centrepoint?

Starting out as a night shelter, Centrepoint’s work with young people has evolved beyond all recognition over the last 50 years. We now provide a whole range of support for those aged 16-25 who are homeless or at risk of becoming so. We now help them not only with accommodation but with advice on getting healthy and staying healthy and on getting the education, training and life skills needed to succeed. We do this because giving homeless young people a chance to build new lives is just the right thing to do.

Over the years, we have provided over 125,000 young people with accommodation, health support and life skills to get them back into education training and employment. We have campaigned tirelessly for change and to ensure homeless young people getting the support they need when it comes to benefits, education, skills and employment as well as housing.

But we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’ve bought in specialists to bring our vision to life.

  • The Growth Board, Chaired by Jamie Reuben and comprised of experts across the property sector.
  • New internal department made up of experts with many years of collective experience in property, employment and supporting young people. 
  • Independent evaluation completed by University of Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research

In a time of growing uncertainty and with unemployment on the rise, it is vital that young people have a safe place to call home and a secure job to financially sustain themselves. It is an honour to be part of a programme making this a reality and ensuring young people are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential”.


Jamie Reuben, Chair of The Independent Living Growth Board

Independent Living Homes

Our Independent Living homes could be provided in a number of ways. 

new homes

Converting existing Centrepoint properties into communal homes where young people facing similar challenges can live together and support each other

build crane

Building new homes specifically designed to meet the needs of young people in the early stages of independent living.

The design of Centrepoint's new modular homes

Creating modular homes that are quicker and cheaper to build and that can even be moved to new locations.

young man studies

Working with partners in London and Manchester to develop and incorporate their properties into the programme.

How you can help

The success of Independent Living relies on four key ingredients; funding, land, advice and jobs for young people.

  1. Our vision is bold and will require over £16m investment to deliver the homes we need as the first step. Our fundraising target is £12.6m but we have phased our home building so we can kick off as soon as we have raised our first half a million pounds.

  2. Donations of land – even on a temporary basis – would help us reach our goal faster. Temporary plots could accommodate modular homes that could be moved in the future and gifts of land could offer the chance to build new permanent Independent Living homes.

  3. Pro-bono support with everything from building design and QS to contracts and construction would make investments go further and would help ensure we can provide the best possible independent living solutions.

  4. Our plan involves not only providing a home but helping young people live independently in every sense and that means earning a living. Young homeless experience much higher levels of unemployment and find it difficult to get a foot on the career ladder. Partners who can provide training, apprenticeships and jobs to those in the Independent Living programme will make a big difference to its overall success.

The four ingredients fit in to three main themes to support the Independent Living Programme, which are Property, can you support part or the development of a whole scheme. Could you help young people directly by supporting them through their journey with Centrepoint and The Independent Living Programme, fund The Independent Living Advisors who will support them when they move in to an ILP home. Alternatively your support could  focus on a region of the UK where the Programme is developing homes. For more information, please look below:

Become an Independent Living Pioneer

keys to new home


  • Development Pioneer/ Foundation Pioneer – Supporting part or a complete development, including construction through to furniture, white goods and decoration.

  • Property & Land Pioneer – Donating land or property that can become part of the Independent Living Programme.

young woman laptop

Young people

  • Journey Pioneer – Supporting a young person from the day they arrive at Centrepoint through to the day they successfully leave the Independent Living Programme.

  • Personal Development Pioneer – Supporting the Independent Living Advisors and offering a bursary programme to build the skills knowledge and experiences of young people living in an Independent Living Home.

  • Skills and Employment Pioneer – Ethical employers with the ability to offer training, apprenticeships and job opportunities

manchester housing


  • National Pioneer – Support all aspects of the programme Nationally.

  • North Pioneer - Support all aspect of the programme in the North.

  • South Pioneer – Support all aspects of the programme in the South

Meet the team

Centrepoint's Independent Living team has a breadth of expertise and experience in supporting vulnerable young people, property management and development and employment. 

Steve Dumbrell

Steve Dumbrell, Head of Independent Living 

Steve leads the operational delivery of the programme – leading a team who manage the day to day property management functions and well as working with our residents to enable their continued progress through Independent Living and beyond.

Steve has worked in social housing operational management and delivery for over 20 years in a variety of settings: in local authorities, Housing Associations and charitable organisations. He’s committed to collaborative design and delivery – pooling of ideas and talents to deliver meaningful and transformational change.

Richard For Web

Richard Utting, Head of Independent Living Appeal

Richard is responsible for the Independent Living fundraising appeal and has 10 years’ experience working with Centrepoint. His work for the charity has been to develop a series of new fundraising initiatives for the charity including the flagship gala events and Sleep Out.

With 20 years’ experience of experience working with arts organisations he has worked successfully on a number of capital appeal projects which have benefitted performers, young people and audiences.

Sally Orlopp

Sally Orlopp, Director of People, Skills and Employability 

Sally is responsible for a number of key aspects of Centrepoint as the Director of People, Skills and Employability ensuring that young people have access to education, training and employment opportunities. The Independent Living Programme has been developed though her drive and ingenuity and a focus on the fundamental needs of young people ready to move in to homes of their own and employment.

Robin Mcgrenary

Robin McGrenary,
Independent Living Programme Development Director

Robin has responsibility to lead the delivery of new independent living homes within London and Manchester. Robin is the CEO of MCG Professionals Ltd and has lead a number of complex transformation programs throughout the globe, including building international manufacturing centres and directing teams of consultants within various housing associations in the UK. He has taken a sabbatical from running his company to focus 100% on supporting Centrepoint with this ambitious and essential program.

Órla Constant

Órla Constant, Relationship Director

 Órla is responsible for building and developing high level relationships with our donors, partners, and supporters to help achieve Centrepoint’s overall aim – to get our young people into a home and a job, living independently. Órla was introduced to Centrepoint as a voluntary fundraiser, working on Centrepoint’s inaugural gala and awards event at The Royal Albert Hall back in 2011.

Contact us

To support the programme please contact Richard Utting. Email. Tel. 07866497462. For media enquiries please contact Maryann Wright Email. Tel. 07703714717