No young person ever asks for the dire circumstances that lead them to becoming homeless. Yet with 80,000 under-25s experiencing homelessness, we must do all we can as a society to support those who need help into housing and employment. These lives are immeasurably precious – it is vital that we work together to end youth homelessness.

His Royal Highness – The Duke of Cambridge

The Rock Trust is one of the founding members of the End Youth Homelessness (EYH) national partnership. The EYH partnership is a group of charities and businesses who are tackling the devastating issue if youth homelessness, a problem which effects 80,000 16 to 25 year olds across the UK.

Focussing on the key areas of housing, skills and prevention, EYH campaigns to change both national and local policies and ensure that homeless young people can secure both a home and a job, and ultimately a positive future.

Working jointly with the Royal College of GPs, businesses and housing and support providers, the group also serves to spread best practice and innovative ways of working to improve health outcomes, tackle housing shortages and help homeless young people into work.

Lifeline not lifestyle

The Rock Trust, along with members of the UK youth homelessness charity partnership ‘End Youth Homelessness’, is campaigning to STOP the removal of the housing benefit lifeline from young people.

80,000 young people a year experience homelessness in the UK every year. We know that many young people rely on housing benefit to keep a roof over their heads. These young people do not choose to become homeless. They are often forced out of home because of domestic violence or family breakdown.

For homeless young people, housing benefit is a short-term solution, which provides the support they need to get a job and live an independent life – a life not reliant on benefits. We fear that cutting housing benefit could force more young people into rough sleeping and prevent them from finding sustainable employment.

The research commissioned by EYH and conducted by Heriot-Watt University, is an economic analysis of the impacts of cutting housing benefit for young people. You can download or read the Lifeline not lifestyle – full report here or you can read just the Lifeline not lifestyle – Executive Summary here. The report is both a quantitative and qualitative piece of research.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

  • Housing benefit for 18-21 year olds on Jobseeker’s Allowance currently costs just over £128 million per year. This would not all be saved if the cut went ahead as some exemptions would be required.
  • An essential set of exemptions would reduce the overall savings to just over £78 million. This only takes account of the exemptions about which there were data. The true post-exemptions saving would be much lower.
  • Even if exemptions were applied, some people would still become homeless leading to knock-on costs of £75 million for example through increased use of public services. When combined with the cost of exemptions this reduces overall savings to just £3.3 million.
  • Even this is a conservative figure and only an additional 140 young people than already estimated would need to become homeless before the policy would end up costing more than it saves.