No Barriers To a Base

The ongoing crisis

Young homeless people in London face barriers like no other demographic. 

Tomorrow’s doctors, tomorrow’s scientists, tomorrow’s leaders. Too many are homeless, too many have lost their sense of dignity and a sense of who they are, what they’re capable of. They are the ones who continue to trend the streets, they are the ones who can’t kick on. Not only their hopes will be lost, but their dreams. 

With the level of Housing Benefitcapped at a significantly lower level than the market rate it has become increasingly difficult for young people to afford to stay in their communities or even their city. Even if they find something within their price range, they are stuck without a deposit or rent in advance. And with a living allowance far beneath those who are older, living day to day is a huge challenge. 

Of all the ages to experience the greatest challenge of just getting some stability, it is particularly punishing that it is for those in their formative years, when their lives should be stretching out before them, rather than closing in within them.  

The path to change

But we can stop this.  

We work with young homeless people to identify property in the Private Sector and negotiate on their behalf with the landlord to get them accepted, using our funds to pay for the upfront costs usually associated with a new tenancy. 

In return for the support, the young person engages with programmes designed to get them into employment and off any dependency on benefits entirely, putting themselves on the path to financial independence.

 The relationship we maintain with their landlord ensures that they are getting what they are entitled to in their accommodation, and that they are given the rights they lacked, the standards they should expect, and the respect they deserve.

“It’s not an easy time in history to be a young Londoner.

I look at my own children and wonder – with considerable anxiety – about their respective paths to independence in this city.

Coming from a council estate in Kilburn, experiencing social housing at an early age, I was still able to make the leap to renting my own place aged 22 with relative ease.

Now, in one of the most expensive cities for cost of living in the world, the leap is considerably larger and harder and we see young people living with their parents way beyond their 20’s.

Now imagine if you didn’t even have that to fall back on.

Imagine if you had no support network behind you, no income, no home and only the currency of hope on your side?

When did being young make you LESS vulnerable?

This isn’t about handouts and charity cases, or rewarding “drop-outs” and “failures”.

This is about supporting those most vulnerable who dream of being tax paying, employable, valuable additions to our economy and society. In the long term and bigger picture, supporting them is supporting us.

Boost Up is an highly innovative way of offering not only much needed support, but also the opportunity for these young people to support themselves and thrive.

I will be throwing all my weight behind this ambitious scheme and together we will shine a light upon an issue that affects us all profoundly.

Let’s bring back some hope.”

actor and writer Ben bailey smith