Changing the story about moving on

Monday, 14 January 2019 - 4:37pm

Lisa Waring, Head of Partnerships at Centrepoint, tells us about their report, ‘Ready to Move On’, and the barriers young people face when moving from hostels or supported accommodation into independent living. 

young woman in hat

A critical shortage of social housing means that young people who are homeless are finding it increasingly difficult to access council and housing association accommodation. Between 2010 and 2017, the proportion of new social lettings to under 30s dropped by a third. New homes are often unaffordable for those on the lowest income, even those listed as “affordable housing”.

Shared housing is often the most affordable housing for young people who are homeless. However, with fierce competition alongside students and young professionals in the private rented sector, young people are struggling to access it.

Centrepoint commissioned YouGov to survey over 1,000 private landlords from England, Wales and Scotland. This research found that only one in 10 private landlords said they would let ‘shared properties’ (citing that they preferred to let to an individual or family) and only one in five would let a room to a young person who has experienced homelessness. This makes it much harder for young people who are homeless to access affordable accommodation. To make matters worse, most landlords require a deposit and a minimum of one month's rent in advance and letting agencies often charge fees on top.

Young people experiencing homelessness on low incomes or receiving support through benefits do not have the support of savings or financial support from their parents and cannot afford these upfront costs.

Ready to Move On 

For young people living in hostels and supported accommodation, like those supported by Centrepoint, it is getting tougher to move into independent living. Currently, one in five young people at Centrepoint are ready to move on but they are effectively "bed-blocking", because there is nowhere else for them to go.

In our recent report ‘Ready to Move On: Barriers to homeless young people accessing longer-term accommodation’ we outlined some key recommendations for solving this problem including dedicated funding for young people’s move on, improvements to the benefit system so that young people can afford to rent, and an end to unfair practices which keep homeless people locked out of the private sector.

Watch Aidan's story

Centrepoint are also encouraging a national debate on the issue at Change the Story: National Youth Homeless Conference.