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', explores this and other food insecurity related issues facing vulnerable young people today. Here's everything you need to know.
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 third (30 per cent) of vulnerable young people often go without food for a whole day due to lack of money.
1 in 4 (26 per cent) vulnerable young people have £20 or less of monthly income left after rent and bills, leaving them to live off £5 or less a week.
Local welfare assistance is not reaching vulnerable young people, largely because around half are unaware of the financial support that is available to them.
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
Want to know more about food insecurity in young people, and how you can help us combat it? Learn everything you need to know in less than one minute with this handy video refresher, and then sign our petition: centrepoint.org.uk/petition.
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.
There'll be times where I'd be choosing whether to go to college or work or stay at home, because I couldn't like maybe afford lunch if I went out.
- Clara, London
…There's a group of young men that come, and last summer, they looked well, today they just look like they have been dragged through a hedge backwards. They have lost weight, they look unkempt, and they just look lost.
- Food bank, North East England
1. Strengthen the benefits system so that young people are not pushed into poverty. This includes:
a. Restoring the £20 Universal Credit uplift;
b. Ensuring all benefits meet real living cost standards;
c.Removing the 5 week wait for the first payment; and
d. Offering the choice of more regular payments.
2. Increase targeted support for energy costs by extending eligibility for winter fuel payments and discounts.
3. Improve access to emergency food support whilst working to remove the systemic need for food banks by supporting and developing initiatives such as social supermarkets.