Depaul UK responds to Homeless Youth Report Speaking on the eve of the national conference of Depaul Nightstop UK, the national network of accredited emergency accommodation for young people, Martin Houghton-Brown, Chief Executive of Depaul UK, said:

“Homeless Link’s report demonstrates the need for urgent action.  Youth homelessness figures don’t have to keep on rising; safety, security and support at the right time can prevent a housing emergency becoming long term homelessness.

Homelessness is dangerous for young people.  Many who become homeless are already vulnerable and homelessness puts them at risk from abuse and sexual exploitation.  Safe emergency housing is a must for young person facing homelessness and, as young people have themselves testified, Nightstop provides them with safe accommodation in a crisis1.  We have convened a national Nightstop conference at which Nightstop Projects will be discussing ways of encouraging more people to become hosts through our forthcoming Spare Rooms campaign.

We urge Local Authorities to prioritise funding for Nightstops and also Supported Lodgings – both community responses to a community issue and are keen to help them develop these solutions.  We also urge Local Authorities not to use B&Bs as emergency housing for young people.

Housing crises and homelessness can be prevented through effective preventative work.  Depaul UK has a successful track record in preventing youth homeless through our family mediation projects.  We support Homeless Link’s finding that support for families is needed more than ever and call for funding for family mediation and other prevention services to be protected.  The evaluation of Depaul UK’s Reconnect family mediation service in Oldham2 credited it with saving Oldham Council just over £1.2 million.   We would argue that the need for such ‘invest to save’ interventions has never been more pressing.”

1.      Staying Safe: An evaluation of Nightstop services

2.      ‘Homeless Prevention: Can we afford not to’