John backs ‘End Youth Homelessness’ alliance

Against a background of an estimated 80,000 young people experiencing homelessness annually, John Healey, MP for Wentworth & Dearne, has joined leading charities and businesses to form the End Youth Homelessness alliance.

The group aims to recruit new supporters and gain public support over the coming months to help raise awareness of the problems facing homeless young people and to campaign for changes in national and local government policies.

Mr Healey, a former housing minister, said: “I felt it was very important to be involved in the alliance. Homelessness is an issue that has a huge impact on young people, adults and families in my constituency and any attempt to bring organisations together to help tackle this has my full backing.”

Key to the success of the alliance will be the support of businesses to increase the number of opportunities that provide coaching, mentoring and apprenticeships to help homeless young people gain employment and skills.

Of the seven charities, four – Centrepoint, DepaulUK, Homeless Link and St Basils – focus on the homeless, two – Relate and Family Lives – work in family support and The Prince’s Trust focuses on enterprise and skills development for young people. The Royal College of GPs will join the founding advisory group in the area of healthcare strategies.

Responsible business charity Business in the Community brings expertise from delivering business-led employment programmes. Its members HSBC and National Grid will contribute in the area of jobs and skills and they are joined by house builder, Taylor Wimpey.

Announcing the formation of the alliance, its chairman Robert Grayof HSBC issued the following statement:

“The End Youth Homelessness Alliance is a unique example of charities and major commerce coming together to bring about real change on a key social issue. This is the first time ever, that the voluntary sector and private businesses have joined forces to tackle youth homelessness.

“Youth homelessness is on the increase. It is happening right across the country, in our urban centres, but also in our rural communities. The Alliance aims to ensure Government, the public, private and voluntary sectors work with young people to develop real opportunities.

“A key message the Alliance has for society at large is the enormous ongoing cost of youth homelessness to the country at large in terms of the blighted lives that young people who experience homelessness all too often go on to lead.”

The End Youth Homelessness Alliance officially launched at a House of Commons reception on the 8th of May where Parliamentarians, businesses and support providers heard from a range of speakers, including Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP, Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey MP, and Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes MP. A young person also spoke about the realities of homelessness and how the right help at the right time is critical. Their stories, experience and insight will each be used by the Alliance to highlight the crucial risk areas of family breakdown, unemployment and housing insecurity as well as the means of addressing and preventing youth homelessness.