Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
12:00 AM 28th June 2024

Over One In Four Young People Fearful Of Becoming Homeless Within The Next Year

Image by Alexander Fox | PlaNet Fox from Pixabay
Image by Alexander Fox | PlaNet Fox from Pixabay
More than one in four young people are worried that they or someone they know will become homeless in the next 12 months, a giant UK-wide public attitudes poll revealed this week.

The new study, conducted by Opinium on behalf of leading social enterprise Places for People, has collected the views of 550 young people aged 16 to 24 as part of a wider multigenerational survey of 4,000 UK citizens. The research is being released in the weeks leading up to the General Election next month.

Giving fresh insight on topics from homelessness to housebuilding, this latest data brings to light the standout opinions of some of the youngest people eligible to vote in the Election – highlighting their priorities and concerns for the future compared to their elders.

Places for People’s wide-ranging study reveals that young people aged 16 to 24:
are among the most concerned that they or someone they know will become homeless in the next 12 months – more than one in four (28%)
are the least likely to oppose new affordable housebuilding in their area – just one in 10 (10%)
are the least concerned about saving money over the planet when it comes to the energy efficiency of their home (fewer than one in five, 16%).

On homelessness, over two-thirds (68%) of young people feel social housing should be prioritised for those rough sleeping, sofa surfing or living in unsuitable temporary accommodation.

Meanwhile, eight in 10 (81%) aged 16 to 24 believe the Government should provide more funding to prevent homelessness. This is a multigenerational sentiment, as is the firm shared belief (roughly 78% of all ages) that the Prime Minister should build more social homes to tackle homelessness.

This new data also highlights a clear generational variance in the perceptions of social housing and the attitudes towards those living in these homes – arguably reinforcing the notion that stigma of this type remains a reality across Communities.

Young people were the likeliest to associate social housing with positive words such as ‘togetherness’ (one in four), ‘unity’ (one in five) and ‘thriving’​ (one in ten).

This is in stark contrast to those aged 55 and over who instead are the likeliest to associate words such as ‘unemployment’ (over a third), ‘lower income’ (two-thirds) and ‘antisocial behaviour’​ (over one in four).

These sentiments appear linked to the softest opposition among young people to new affordable or social housebuilding in their area, likewise their strong support for mixed Communities. More than two-thirds (67%) of young people believe that new housing schemes should include all tenures – including social rent.

Gillian Clater of the Unlock Next Gen group at Places for People said:
“As the future of our Communities, it is deeply troubling that young people with their lives ahead of them are among the most worried about becoming homeless.

“A distinct lack of affordable housing is pricing more and more young people out of buying or renting a quality and secure home to become the bedrock of their future. Worse still, every fourth young person or a friend fears having no home at all within a year.

“This group deserves a social system which brings them opportunity, not fear. It’s vital the voices of young people are heard by those responsible for shaping the solution to society’s gravest challenges.

“While our research sets young people apart as being climate conscious, inclusive and socially aware, their overriding message today is crystal clear.

“We simply must build more of the right homes for the right people, including student accommodation and homes affordable to young people. This will help satisfy a growing demand for housing of all types and lay the foundations for future generations to prosper. Talking is over, it’s time to build.”

Places for People, which owns or manages more than 245,000 homes across the UK including 74,000 social homes and 10,000 student beds, is calling on the Government to prioritise building 90,000 new social homes each year.

The social enterprise is doing all it can to build the quality homes needed across the UK. It completed 1,750 new homes in the last year, of which 86% are affordable, with 265 available for social rent. A further 1,944 were started in the last year, of which 74% are affordable and 210 will be available for social rent.

It also supported over 10,500 people who were either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in the last year. Beyond this it funds, builds and manages a range of facilities across the country to accommodate homeless people.

Places for People also offers its Communities a range of services such as money advice and financial support, education, health and wellbeing and more – totalling around £300million in value per year.

As part of its wider commitment to supporting the lives of young people, its Inspire Youth Zone in Chorley, Lancashire, provides activities, outreach and guidance to over 5,000 young people and families each year. Open daily, the centre engages, supports and inspires vulnerable young people with targeted services in neighbourhoods of increased deprivation. Service users report feeling more confident, socially engaged and healthy. The service has also helped to reduce local crime and youth antisocial behaviour by 49%.

Other dedicated Places for People youth provisions seek to strengthen local relationships, improve fitness and integrate those from different cultural backgrounds.