Centrepoint, the youth homes charity, is on a mission.
It is taking radical steps to break the cycle of youth homelessness with an ambitious scheme that will not only create homes, but will offer real support to those who need it.
The charity estimates that 103,000 young people approached their local council last year because they were homeless, or at risk, but the social housing shortage and the fact that rents are so high means that few councils are able to do anything about their plight.
Through the Independent Living Programme, homeless 16-25-year-olds will be given a job and a place to live in a move that tackles this current shortage of affordable homes.
The scheme, which has been given the green light from Southwark council, involves building 33 single-occupancy modular homes in Peckham on the site of eight old apartment blocks at a cost of £50,000 each.
But what makes it an even more innovative solution is that as well as planning to give 300 young people a roof over their head, they will also get entry-level or apprenticeship roles that lead to full-time employment as well as rents they can actually afford.
It’s all about providing a future for young people who may not have had the best start in life, giving work and affordable housing to those who are ready to move on from temporary accommodation.
Not only will the new modular housing be less expensive to complete than a traditional build, and can be pre-built and transported to any location, but young people will only be charged approximately one-third of their salary to rent them.
This means that a 20-year-old in Manchester on the minimum wage would pay approximately £350 a month to live alone.
The charity’s wider work also includes support for those who need to brush up on their life skills, or who need help with addictions and mental health.
Centrepoint will still continue to offer levels of support to homeless young people, including providing emergency and temporary accommodation, but when the time comes to move on they have the chance of being helped in a way that has never been tried before.
The Independent Living Programme gets to the root of the problem for homeless young people who, even if they do find a job, are likely to be on low incomes that just aren’t enough for them to save up for a deposit and pay sky high rents.
When this happens, they inevitably end up sofa surfing or living on the streets again.
This scheme breaks that cycle.
It means homeless young people get the chance to make the move from the vicious circle of rough sleeping and temporary accommodation to a more permanent and affordable way to live.
Having a home of their own means they can open a bank account, get help for any addictions or mental health problems they have, and forge good relationships with people.
The Peckham scheme is just the start as Centrepoint is also talking to councils in Barnet, Hounslow, Waltham Forest, as well as in Manchester, with the aim of rolling it out to other areas.
They are looking for partners to help them develop the Independent Living Programme too.
Centrepoint is working with landowners to identify potential sites where they can work in partnership to deliver these much-needed homes for young people.