Here at Cirencester Housing for Young People, we have been providing 24 hour supported accommodation for young homeless people for over 30 years. We specialise in supporting 16 to 25 year old homeless people with an aim to getting them in to education or training, employment and eventually living independently.
More and more of the young people we work with are 16-18 years old, even if they could find the money to pay rent they would not get a tenancy. We want to prevent individuals from finding themselves homeless, sofa surfing, sleeping out or accepting an inappropriate ‘roof over their heads’ from someone who does not have the young person’s best interests at heart and wants something in return.
Working with a local secondary school, we are trialing having an experienced CHYP support worker in school over lunch periods once a week, someone they see around on a regular basis and feel they can trust. So far they have had young people come to talk to the support workers regularly . Our key workers are trained and have so much experience with issues such as mental health and family reconciliation and can support school pastoral teams that are already at capacity. Using regular drop-in sessions where young people can access CHYP support workers within school or college, is a proactive, constructive way forward. We hope to be able to role this out to several more schools in our immediate area with support workers in place in each setting.
We believe a conservative estimate would be that we can make a difference to roughly 234 in year one. We can also ensure trained staff are available to pass on skills to others preventing more young people from slipping through the net.
We have identified a further schools and colleges with which we already have a positive relationship with and with evidence-based information from trials.
We know there will always be young people that for one reason or another cannot live at home or with a relative and have no support. Research by Center Point has shown that there is a rise in youth homelessness in rural areas. A successful outcome for this project would be to prevent the increase in youth homelessness in our rural area.