There are many reasons why young people can slide into homelessness. Homelessness does not have one single cause but the contributory factors are well known and include:
- Family breakdown
- Unemployment and poverty
- Poor mental health
- Child abuse
- Drugs and alcohol
Substantially, the single largest reported cause of homelessness amongst single people under 25 was relationship breakdown with family, friends or partner.
Next highest was physical or mental health problems and third was abuse or domestic violence.
Tom’s story is typical of those we support:
When I came to The Rock Trust, I was living with my Gran, who stayed in sheltered accommodation, which wasn’t at all suitable for me. I first contacted the charity Streetwork, because I was totally on my own and really needed help. Then Streetwork took me to The Rock Trust.
I felt very low and was scared of ending up on the streets and didn’t want to end up in temporary accommodation again. I had been in a B&B and a hostel in 2010, the experience led me to drink a lot with other people in the hostel, it was a distraction.
I accessed The Rock Trust’s Crisis service and got help finding a safe place to live. Crisis helped me get a PSL (Private Sector Let) with Link Living (a Housing Association) and also referred me to The Rock Trust’s Compass project. I got support from the Compass team to maintain my flat (help with bills, any changes etc), and also access volunteering opportunities. It was also important for me that I could talk to someone about my budgeting skills.
Compass has also helped me build positive relationships, become more assertive and become more aware that people think in different ways and have different outlooks on life. This has improved my social skills.
The one-to-one support I receive helps as I can talk about my personal thoughts without being judged. I am very grateful to my keyworker for this.
I attended the weekly cooking group which improved my confidence in cooking and I am now a kitchen volunteer in the Compass drop-ins. I also volunteered with Compass Step Up which helped give me something productive to do and gave me confidence in interacting with others again. The Compass Music Group which I go to has expanded my musical interests, helped me improve my guitar skills. I now regularly play at an open mic night.
Now, I am in stable housing, I have a good relationship with my Link worker without fear of being misunderstood. I had a job but lost it, but I got support with this and decided to go back to college.
I feel much better about my situation, I am happier. I am more confident dealing with companies (I couldn’t have called Virgin to sort out my bill calmly 6 months ago) and people because I am more self aware. I enjoy my own company more and am more confident in my musical ability, I am more at ease valuing my own world and being my own person.