Last week, we sent some of our snowmen to protest outside the Houses of Parliament to highlight the shocking number of young people at risk of homelessness this winter.
Dreaming of a ‘White Christmas’? Snowy scenes are picturesque for many of us, the perfect backdrop to the festive season. But for those facing homelessness, the wintery weather is closer to a nightmare.
Our most recent estimate, based on our latest Databank research, is that 24,400 young people between 16-24 will be facing homelessness this winter across England.
Some will be in unsafe or unstable places, struggling on benefits and forced to choose between keeping warm or eating dinner. Many of them will have no choice but to rough sleep outside, where temperatures could drop and put them at risk of health issues - or even death.
The true number may be even higher – many young people are ‘hidden homeless’. They’re sofa-surfing at friends’ or relatives’ houses, and they may not make their local authority aware that they’re in need of housing.
Real experiences from our Helpline
Paul Brocklehurst, our Senior Helpline Manager, shares what we’re hearing from the young people who approach us for support:
“The harsh reality is that, despite us hearing the effects of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis are starting to settle, this isn’t the case for youth homelessness.
Since last year, calls to our helpline have significantly increased and are higher than pre-pandemic levels. The impact of the past few years is pushing vulnerable young people to breaking point.
The calls show how people who weren’t previously struggling, are now having to choose between eating or putting the heating on this Christmas.
This is a choice no one should have to make and should never be a young person’s Christmas.”