This year has been tough for everyone, but for many vulnerable young people the impact has been devastating. Below are the top 10 issues having an impact on both our residents and the vulnerable young people seeking our help and support services via our Youth Advice Centres (YMCA YAC).
- 61% increase in young people presenting as homeless at our Brighton & Hove Advice Centre during the first Covid-19 lockdown.
- Relationship breakdown between young people and their parents /step-parents /carers continues to be the leading cause of youth homelessness. Lockdown, shielding and social restrictions increased tensions in many homes.
- For the first time in three years, we have waiting lists for family-mediation and we have seen an almost 100% increase in the numbers of young people and families requesting mediation in the last five months (April – September).
- After family breakdown, the other key causes of youth homelessness include; poor mental health, job losses and substance misuse. All of which are being exacerbated by the pandemic.
- Emergency cases are increasing every week. These are cases where young people have been evicted that day and have nowhere else to go. We have long waiting lists for all of our housing projects.
- Increasing numbers of ‘older’ young people (20+) needing help. They are often harder to help, as family and other support has drained away and they fall between children and adult services.
- Whilst the biggest issue for young people seeking support is homelessness, those seeking support for suicidal thoughts, suicide attempt, self-harm and mental health issues is very high. Access to specialist mental health services is currently very difficult due to increased demand.
- Numbers of young people presenting with physical and emotional abuse issues, including neglect, has increased significantly over the past 6 months resulting in a 45% increase in safeguarding alerts.
- Opportunities to move on into college placements and other training opportunities have dried up for many vulnerable young people living in supported accommodation. This is impacting their mental health and well-being leading to a significant increase in safeguarding alerts within our housing projects.
- Part-time jobs and zero hours contracts have been lost which particularly impacts on those young people trying to transition out of supported housing and move on to independence. Long term, this creates a ‘bottle neck’ on the journey to independence that we want all our young people to take (read article on parliamentary concerns HERE)
Throughout the pandemic our project workers have continued to work in all of our projects. In our housing projects, particularly the 24-hour supported accommodation, some have undertaken great personal sacrifices like moving into rented accommodation to keep their own families safe (read Karina’s story HERE). All of our counselling and advice services moved online so that the vital support they offer could continue.
Support our work with vulnerable young people to prevent youth homelessness in the South East
All year round we work to prevent youth homelessness in the South East and support young people with their wellbeing and mental health. All of our projects and programmes aim to put vulnerable young people on a journey to independence and provide them with the help and support they need to go on and lead fulfilling lives. To help us with this please consider becoming a monthly supporter or join our Room Sponsorship circle.