Youth homelessness on the rise during pandemic as demand for help increases

A city centre youth homelessness charity has reopened its offices, warning of the significant increase in demand for its services during the coronavirus pandemic.  

Centrepoint in Manchester assessed and supported 505 young people between mid-March and mid-September, a 16% rise compared to the previous six months. 

The increase has fuelled the need to reopen the face-to-face operation at Parsonage Gardens—even with the tightening of coronavirus restrictions.  

Joe Lomas, Centrepoint’s operations manager in Manchester, said: “It’s been a challenging few months with the number of young people asking Centrepoint for support in Manchester increasing, so it’s great to be able to open up our doors again.”

The charity works with over 1,000 young people in Manchester a year who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Throughout lockdown they supported young people into emergency accommodation over the phone and via their street outreach team.

Following the coronavirus outbreak, Centrepoint research has revealed that 74% of local councils across England expect to see an increase in homelessness.

Nationally, there has been a 50% increase in calls to the Centrepoint Helpline from young people facing homelessness.

Mr Lomas said: “We’re not just about finding accommodation for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, we also endeavour to offer wraparound support.”

This includes support to access finances, help with applications, rent deposits and mental health support. 

He said: “This additional support is so important in helping young people to both access and maintain their accommodation.

“While we’re delighted to be operating in-person services again, we are still in the midst of a pandemic in a city with lockdown restrictions in place.

“So, in order to ensure the safety of our staff and the young people who need our support we still encourage people to use the Centrepoint Helpline if they can.”

Centrepoint operates nationally with bases in London, Manchester, the North East and Yorkshire, supporting 15,000 vulnerable young people a year. 

The Manchester office is open to young people from 1.30pm to 4pm.

The charity is investing £1.4m into their Oldham Street offices with the aim of improving outcomes for homeless young people and creating a welcoming area for those accessing drop-in services.

The Centrepoint Helpline number is: 0808 800 0661. It is available for any young person aged 16-25 worried about homelessness and open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.

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