To tackle and ultimately end youth homelessness, we need to know how many young people experience homelessness and what happens to them when they seek help.
Our Youth Homelessness Databank brings together youth homelessness data to build the clearest picture possible. The project was the 2014 winner of Google's Impact Challenge.
Nobody knows exactly how many young people are homeless in the UK, which means that many government decisions are made in the dark. The Databank brings together data from central government, local councils and charities that work in housing to explore the true scale of youth homelessness. You can use the Databank to find out the numbers in your local area, compare the situations in different regions and see what kind of support is being offered.
In 2015, we found that that during a year long period 150,000 young people asked for help with housing because they were homeless or at risk of homelessness. Many of these young people are turned away with little or no support. Based on freedom of information requests from councils and information shared by charities, we found that at least 30,000 young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness are turned away from their local authority every year in England and Wales.
Our calculations of the number of young people facing homelessness have sometimes been more than eight times higher than the government's official statistics on young people classed as 'statutory homeless'. Statutory homelessness means that you meet certain criteria - such as age, having children or the circumstances under which you became homeless - which make the council legally obliged to house you. Our numbers include all of the young people who went to their local councils to ask for help, many of whom are not currently getting the assessments they deserve to find out whether or not they qualify as statutory homeless. We're very concerned about the number of young people turned away with little or no support.
We calculated that more than 150,000 young people approached UK councils for help because they are homeless or at risk of homelessness
Over eight times as many young people asked for help because they are homeless than the number accepted as ‘statutory homeless’
At least 30,000 young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness are turned away from their local authority every year in England and Wales
The government's figures are based upon the number of young people considered 'statutory homeless'. This means they meet strict criteria including age, needs and how they became homeless - you can be homeless, but not be considered statutory homeless. We think all young people that approach their local council as homeless or at risk should be carefully assessed but our research indicates this is not happening. We're concerned that some of the most disadvantaged people, least able to represent themselves, are turned away with little or no support, meaning the scale of the issue is being substantially under-reported.
The Youth Homelessness Databank is part of our ambitions to understand, alleviate and eventually end youth homelessness. To have the biggest possible impact we support homeless young people into accommodation and work, help them improve their health and campaign to make their voices heard.