The pandemic has been disproportionately tough on young people in terms of the social impact. Young workers were particularly hard hit with the loss of jobs in retail and hospitality and the temporary closure of education facilities widened attainment gaps. Poor mental health, as well as family and relationship breakdowns, increased and social distancing meant many more of those who had been sofa surfing were faced with no choice but to sleep rough on our capital’s streets than ever before. A critical lack of youth-specific affordable housing in London combined with restrictions in the benefits system has exacerbated all of this. These impacts will be felt for years to come

When a young person has nowhere to call home, it has a significant and long-term impact on their future, affecting mental and physical health, disrupting education and employment prospects and increasing a risk of exploitation and abuse. Every young person deserves a place to call home and the right support and opportunities so that they can flourish and achieve their potential. 

Every young person deserves a place to call home and the right support and opportunities so that they can flourish and achieve their potential. 

We help young people by providing safe, welcoming places to stay, support into employment and education and therapy to address trauma, poor mental health, substance misuse and other vulnerabilities. We also work hard to help Looked After Children (Children under 18 who are unable to live with their families) who face an abrupt transition to adult services at 18 to access the services, accommodation and support they are entitled to from their local authority. 

What we will do 

  • Subject to a financial viability review, increase the number of bedspaces for spot purchased schemes, particularly in south and east London, working closely with councils to intervene quickly 
  • Embed a therapeutic offer within our youth schemes to help young people work through traumas and transition into adulthood successfully, including offering an activity programme and employment offer at each of our sites 
  • Incorporate our approach to working with young people within a published ‘Our Way of Working’ framework, and seeking external evaluation and accreditation of our services 
  • Publish an impact report alongside our way of working, promoting our youth offer to ensure we are the ‘go to’ service for Children and Families Commissioners 

My future is looking really bright. I want other young people in my position to know that with the right support and self-belief, your past doesn’t need to hold you back.

After Alexi’s mother died, she was forced to leave home at just 16 and slept on a different sofa every night. She moved into our young people service in Greenwich and focused her energy into studying.  

Single Homeless Project gave Alexi the right space and support to keep building her skills, self-belief and determination. Now 18, she won’t let anything get in the way of her dreams, recently accepting a place at Oxford University. 

Read her full story here.


Download our full strategy 2021-26 here


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