Birmingham has become the first city to sign up to a collective approach to end youth homelessness.

Against a background of an increasing number of young people experiencing homelessness nationally, Birmingham-based St Basils is one of seven  charities nationwide who have joined forces with the city council, businesses and health professionals to raise awareness of the complex challenge of youth homelessness as part of a national ‘End Youth Homelessness’ campaign.

In response to this campaign, both the public and private sectors in Birmingham are now pledging their support to the range of ‘asks’ of the campaign (including better access to housing options, healthcare and jobs) and to help others, citywide, to better understand and respond to the issue.

St Basils’ own mantra for many years has been that ‘Homelessness should not be part of growing up’. To achieve this in the current economic climate this collective response is needed; particularly the support of our local communities and the assistance of businesses to increase the number of opportunities they can offer in terms of mentoring, placements and apprenticeships to ensure all young people can gain skills and employment.

 

St Basils chief executive Jean Templeton said: “Where ever there are pressures on families and households, there are impacts for young people. We know that adolescence and early adulthood is a challenging time for young people, whether or not they have a supportive family: youth unemployment is at record levels; access to affordable housing which is safe and decent is increasingly difficult, and both our minimum wage and welfare system assume that young people will be better able to manage on limited resources than those with more experience.

“If the transition to adulthood is to be a positive one, we need to ensure that we collectively support our young people, particularly those who are most vulnerable or have limited access to personal and family support. The cost of not doing so is too great and could have a massive impact on future generations.

“At a time when hardship is more common, let us not be desensitised to the needs of young people and let us collectively take responsibility for ending youth homelessness”.

Councillor Steve Bedser, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, who is supporting the campaign and citywide approach said: “It’s highly appropriate on World Homeless Day (October 10) that Birmingham – as a city – pledges to end youth homelessness.”