New strategy put in place after youth homelessness rises 57% in the last five years

  • The cost of living crisis has affected young people struggling to find and afford accommodation in Manchester
  • Breakthrough strategy is to be implemented in local schools to raise awareness
  • Voluntary services and Manchester city council offer support for those in need

There are increasing numbers of young people (18-25) accessing temporary accommodation, up by 57% over the previous five years, according to Manchester City Council.

The rising cost of living and the recent rental market are making it especially difficult for young people to live in the city. A plan = by the council, in collaboration with local charities, is being put in place to offer specialist support and advice to young people in schools. 

Many young people, and families with young children, struggle to afford  rental prices. In a rental market report  by Zoopla it was reported that rent prices have gone up by a staggering 14% in Manchester this year alone. 

Vanda Lowe, from youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, said: “Because the cost of living crisis is causing rising inflation and costs, there is not enough affordable accommodation and this is becoming a huge crisis.”

“The private rental sector is not an appropriate place for young people to find a home in 2023”. 

Vanda Lowe, Centerpoint

Housing market is hard for young renters

As of September 2022,  there has been new legislation brought in to cap rent at 3% for tenants currency renting properties, but this means if houses become vacant landlords can raise prices to match the market. Tenants can be pushed out of accommodation and into highly competitive open markets where the demand for homes to rent is 20% higher than this time last year. 

According to Zoopla rental cost rises have been in double digits for the last 18 months

Young people can struggle to find landlords who are willing to take the risk of taking them on as a tenant in comparison to an older person who has a history of paying rent. Many young people do not have a guarantor who can pass the appropriate checks to assure the landlord that rent and damages can be paid if needed. 

There are also young people who leave home for personal reasons, such as family disputes. Short term pastoral care may be needed, including in-house or specialist  accommodation may be needed. 

Help for young homeless.  

In a recent report by the council, it says 240 bed spaces have been commissioned for young people to support them until they become ‘tenancy ready’. 

For young people in education, the homeless service is developing a new strategy to improve its relationship with schools across the city. For pupils, this includes attending parents evenings and talking to pupils directly in class.

Key personnel in schools will also get a training package on how to advise families on issues related to housing. This new system is being trialed in schools in Moss Side and Wythenshawe who requested similar support. 

Victoria Kell, from Manchester City Council, says young people often do not contact homeless prevention authorities until it becomes a crisis.

“Contacting the council can be nerve-wracking. We can do our best to support young people, but coming in early can really help the situation,” she said.

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Cover Photo: Patrick Roger Doyle via Unsplashed