Young person in kitchen staring to camera

Young, homeless and hungry

Take action against the impact of food insecurity on vulnerable young people

Access to sufficient and nutritious food is critical to the health, wellbeing and development of teenagers and young adults at a critical point in their lives. But for young people experiencing homelessness and other severe disadvantages, getting enough food is a challenge they are often all too familiar with.

Our new report, Young, Homeless and Hungry: The impact of food insecurity on young people, explores this and other food insecurity related issues facing vulnerable young people today.

Did you know?

  • 30 %

    30% of vulnerable young people often go without food for a whole day because they don't have enough money.

  • £ 5

    26% of vulnerable young people have £20 or less left each month after rent and bills, leaving them to live off £5 or less a week.

  • 50 %

    Local welfare assistance is not reaching vulnerable young people, because around half are unaware of the financial support that is available to them.

Icon of a megaphone

End food poverty now

No one should have to worry about what their next meal will be, or how they’ll be able to afford it.

​Add your name to call on the government to commit to sufficiently supporting those at the sharpest end of the cost of living crisis, by investing in a level of social security that people can live on.

Sign the petition now!
Young person in kitchen holding stomach
My hands were on my stomach because I was starving and I couldn't even sleep because of hunger. Everything was popping in my mind again and again. I was really depressed because I did not have food.
Aisha, Yorkshire

A nationwide issue

A national poll of a representative sample of 2000 young people found high levels of food insecurity for the general youth population across the country – suggesting that many thousands of young people may be struggling to access the food they need, regardless of whether they have family support or not.

Nearly half (49%) say they have gone to bed hungry in the last 12 months and more than a third (35%) say they have gone a whole day without food because they don't have enough money.

Young person looking at their phone in a tunnel
I always run out of money before the end of the month. I don’t have the money to survive. I have to skip meals sometimes because I have other priorities to pay like gas and electric. It’s a lot.
Lena, London

The drivers of food insecurity

  • Inadequate benefits system
  • Low paid and unstable work opportunities
  • Debt
  • High energy costs
  • Poor cooking facilities
  • Shared living spaces in homelessness accommodation
Young person sat in kitchen looking at paperwork
"There'll be times where I'd be choosing whether to go to college or work or stay at home, because I couldn't afford lunch if I went out."
Clara, London

Our recommendations

Strengthen the benefits system

So that young people are not pushed into poverty. This includes:

  • Restoring the £20 Universal Credit uplift;
  • Ensuring all benefits meet real living cost standards;
  • Removing the 5 week wait for the first payment; and
  • Offering the choice of more regular payments.

Increase targeted support for energy costs

  • Extend eligibility for winter fuel payments and discounts.

Remove the systemic need for food banks

  • Improve access to emergency food support.
  • Support and develop initiatives such as social supermarkets.

Read our blog