Youth homelessness is an increasingly concerning issue. Over the last few years I’ve recorded and documented a rise in youth homelessness, more and more young people under 25 are becoming homeless. Why? Well a multitude of different reasons but very commonly, easy reasons to address and fix.
Fixing the issues of youth homelessness are often simple ones, mediation with parents that have evicted their own children, educating young people on the housing system or benefits system. and various other low level problems. Sometimes fixed with a simple phone call or ticking a box on an online form. Young people are very rarely entrenched with issues. Some do have serious substance misuse problems or Mental Health issues and these young people are the exception to the rule. However if we could rewind time to a time when these young people with serious issues first became homeless I can guarantee that their issues would have been easier ones to fix
Why is it so crucial to focus our work on fixing these low level issues with youth homelessness? well if we don’t they become the entrenched. They become rife with other more serious problems, tougher ones to fix. Substance misuse spirals out of control at a rapid rate. Young people are the most at risk of disengaging with services. We must do all we can to prevent people from becoming entrenched, as fixing the entrenched is the hardest work of all.
We must be innovative in our methods of supporting young people, we must increase engagement. We must be proactive.
In late December 2015 Wellspring had the opportunity of spending a day filming with Professor Green taking part in a documentary looking in to the issue of Youth Homelessness in the UK. Its always an interesting experience doing work with TV. Its a difficult thing to do when it comes to Homelessness, its hard to give an accurate representation as you do not want to be setting anything up or distorting the actual facts. I have confidence in the makers of this documentary that it will give an accurate picture of youth homelessness and do the subject justice.
Some workers i know have first hand personal experience of youth homelessness and i can tell you that they have been lucky to have persevered though it. Lucky to have survived, Lucky to be where they are now but also have a bitter feeling of being let down by a system that did not seem to care at the time.