Exploring and Understanding local Youth Homlessness
On Friday 23rd March 2012 7 members of Charnwood Youth Council visited local young people who live in hostels and temporary accommodation provided by local homelessness charities. At the meeting, Youth Councillors explored the issue of youth homelessness and what could be done by participators and services to make them more effective.
This tied into Youth Councillors running a sponsored event entitled "Cardboard City" which saw them sleep rough for a night in cardboard boxes. This raised several hundred pounds for local homelessness charities.
The Youth Councillors found from their meeting with the homeless young people (aged 16-21 years):
- There is an urgent need for more affordable housing and supported accommodation to be made available. Some of the young people said they felt they stayed in temporary accommodation for too long.
- The homeless young people cited that they felt local youth homelessness and housing difficulties were triggered by poor education, poor coping skills, lack of self esteem, diffult family situations, poor parental support, over crowding in the family home and having mental health difficulties.
- Most of the homeless young people felt that the best support they received was from the voluntary sector and the charities.
- Many of the homeless young people felt hindered by the stereotyping and stigma that their situation gave them-making jobs and finding permanent accommodation more difficult.
- Nearly all the homeless young people cited that they felt they had a good directory of information about services and support targeted at them would help. Many stated that they had no idea where to go to find support and how to help themselves. They felt that such a directory would be very beneficial.
- Nearly all the homeless young people stated that they felt help and support wasn't given quick enough.
- Many of the homeless young people mentioned that they felt that training and work placements offered by Councils that targeted them would be a good idea to move forward.
In addition to Charnwood Youth Councils "Cardboard City" event, some video diaries were produced throughout the night for the local "Youth Shelter" to show at their conference style event. Some of the video diaries can be viewed on youtube, just search "charnwood youth council cardboard city" or follow this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFVSUN1hNmo