Youth homelessness is an urgent problem with long-lasting consequences

Obstacles
Having access to adequate housing and shelter is a human right, recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet, it’s estimated that 150 million people are homeless and 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing worldwide. Living on the streets, moving between houses, sleeping on friends and family’s couches, living in emergency and short term housing all fall under the homelessness umbrella.

According to a 2019 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), homelessness amongst several groups, including young people have increased. In addition, for young people, there has been an increase in ‘hidden homelessness. Hidden homelessness refers to cases of unhoused people that don’t appear in official statistics. These people are often not in contact with support services, may not be eligible for such services or may not count as ‘emergency’ cases, or simply live in their cars or drift across friends’ and family houses.

Youth homelessness is an urgent problem not only in developing countries but also in many developed countries. Causes of youth homelessness range from family conflict, pregnancy, substance abuse, school problems, gang crime and physical and mental health problems. Young people often leave their homes because it’s no longer safe to stay. Youth homelessnes is often accompanied by issues like petty crime, drug use and unsafe sex.

Becoming homeless can have devastating effects on the rest of a young person’s life. They often fall victim to violence and abuse, their education is cut short and they have problems finding employment, thus making it nearly impossible to lift themselves out of homelessness.

Centrepoint is a UK based organisation aiming to end youth homelessness in the country. The organisation doesn’t stop at giving young homeless people with housing support but they also provide health support and life skills so they can get back on their feet, continue with their education and find employment. Alongside helping young people gain skills to live independently, Centrepoint also advocates for change and campaigns for national and local policy change.

Together with their partners, Centrepoint supports over 14.000 young people every year. However, with over 100.000 young people seeking homelessness support each year, they still have a lot of work to do. You can support Centrepoint and help them lift young people out of homelessness by donating to them below.

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