Ending youth homelessness sounds like a big ask, but that’s the agenda set by Centrepoint.
Together with partners, it already supports more than 14,000 young people every year by providing emergency accommodation, support, and financial advice.
And, in its most ambitious plan since the charity was set up in the 1960s, it is focusing attention on ending youth homelessness by 2037.
It intends to do so by supplying the affordable housing so clearly lacking in 21st century Britain.
The average rent in the UK is now at a record high of £1,007, up 5.9 per cent on the same time last year and 7 per cent on 2019, with every single region of the UK showing an annual price increase according to the latest figures released by Homelet.
This means that when a young person becomes homeless, it is incredibly difficult for them to get back on track.
Not only do they need to find a job that gives them a healthy income, but they also need to tackle issues that contributed to them becoming homeless in the first place.
That could be a lack of support from their family, substance abuse, mental ill health, or even just their youth and inexperience.
One of the ways Centrepoint helps young people at risk of homelessness is to provide a raft of services so that those aged between 16 and 25 can change the course of their life.
Almost four in five (88 per cent) of young people currently supported by Centrepoint have the chance to move into their own homes, reconnect with family, and find jobs or go to university.
They teach life skills to help them get back into education, training, and employment.
They’ll also find them a place to stay while they get the help they need.
However, this is just a short-term solution to the homeless crisis.
And, even with this level of help, the chances of them being able to afford their own home is pretty slim.
That means when they leave temporary accommodation, they can be at risk of sliding back into homelessness.
That is why Centrepoint has launched the most ambitious initiative in its 50-year history.
Its Independent Living Programme is designed to give young homeless people a more secure future.
Under the scheme, homeless individuals aged between 16 and 25 are given a job and a place to live in a move that addresses the social housing shortage.
Earlier this year, Southwark council green lit a scheme which involves building 33 single-occupancy modular homes in Peckham on the site of eight old apartment blocks at a cost of £50,000 each.
The first stage of the Independent Living programme, at 54 Lugard Road in SE15, is transforming the site from its existing structure – comprised of eight units over two stories – to one boasting 33 modular units split over two blocks of three stories, as well as a communal garden, bike shed, and seating area for young people to use.
The full development of the Lugard Road property is predicted to cost a total of £1.5m.
As well as planning to give 300 young people a roof over their head, Centrepoint is ensuring they will also get entry-level or apprenticeship roles that lead to full-time employment.
It’s all about providing a future for young people who may not have had the best start in life, offering work and affordable housing to those who are ready to move on from temporary accommodation.
The way it works is simple: provide a young person with a place to live and charge them around a third of their salary, leaving them with enough to live on.
Centrepoint has also appointed British entrepreneur and investor Javad Marandi, together with financier Jamie Reuben, as co-chairs of its growth board.
Their intention is to find innovative solutions that will create change so that no child born in 2021 will face homelessness when they turn 16.
The growth board will be there to give advice to Centrepoint’s senior staff and help raise essential funds, secure land and property development opportunities, as well as attract ethical employers that can provide apprenticeships and entry-level jobs.
As co-chairs, Javad Marandi and Jamie Reuben will establish and grow the board to garner top-level public and private sector support and ensure Centrepoint succeeds in delivering this most ambitious programme.