We campaign to influence national and local government policy and make real change for homeless young people.
Our policy team is here to develop practical methods to move us towards our mission of ending youth homelessness.
Centrepoint campaigns to influence national and local government policy affecting homeless young people. We focus on areas of policy including housing, family and health. We also campaign to ensure homeless young people are getting the right support when it comes to their benefits and personal finance, and their education, skills and employment opportunities.
The best way to tackle homelessness and to protect young people from the devastating impact it can have, is to prevent it from happening altogether.
Poverty, domestic violence, unemployment and poor mental health are all issues that can spiral out of control and make a family home unliveable. At Centrepoint, 59 per cent of the young people we support became homeless due to family relationship breakdown.
Our research has shown us that families need support to prevent problems at home from escalating to the point that a young person has no choice but to leave.
For those who are forced to leave home because of domestic violence, overcrowding or struggles with mental and physical health, support with housing costs can be the difference between safety and stability, and a life on the streets.
In April 2017, the government scrapped Housing Benefit for most 18-21 year olds. This cut could result in young people having to make impossible choices between sleeping rough and returning to an unsafe family home.
Thanks to Centrepoint’s campaigning, including a petition signed by thousands of supporters, those living in hostels are exempt from the cut - this means it won't apply to young people in Centrepoint services.
However, the government is yet to reveal exactly who will be affected - that’s why Centrepoint is continuing to work to ensure the most vulnerable young people in our society are protected from the potentially disastrous cuts.
Centrepoint uses its research to raise awareness about the challenges young people face and collect evidence to feed into our policy work. From tackling youth unemployment to examining family relationship breakdown, we want to understand youth homelessness and the ways it can be prevented.
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Centrepoint is often called on to provide expert insight on issues affecting homeless young people. In May 2016 a blanket ban on new psychoactive substances, often called legal highs, was introduced. As some of the homeless young people we support have had issues with these drugs, we were sought out for an informed reaction to this move. Though a ban in itself is not a bad thing, education is even more important. We pressured the government to spend more than the paltry £180,000 it currently does educating young people about drugs.
Research by Centrepoint’s Youth Homelessness Databank found that more than 150,000 young people had approached their local councils for help with homelessness in one year.
The Databank is creating digital tools to support homeless young people - collating, measuring and displaying youth homelessness data from multiple sources to build a clearer picture of the numbers of young people experiencing homelessness.