In the Summer and Autumn of 2014, we noticed a significant increase in young people coming to us who were struggling with homelessness. We decided to respond but didn’t know what would be the best thing to do. With Urban Hope, a pioneer Church of England Church whom we work closely with, we received a grant from the Together Fund to produce a report about the situation in Coventry and what gaps in provision there were.
Three areas were identified:
· Follow on accommodation after supported accommodation
· Emergency accommodation
The Church and Bardsley Youth Project decided we would like to pursue all three options, starting with the Homelessness Hub. This was a natural progression of our existing work. Bardsley Youth Project was already set up to support young people in a holistic way, pulling together many needs and adapting support to each individual. An award from the Christian Initiative Trust of £20,000 in 2015 paid for our first year, setting us on our way. A further three years funding from Jumping Through Hoops via Heart of England Community Foundation has established the project and we now see 20% of young people that are turned away from Council Homelessness Services with little or no help, working to remove any barriers that stop young people getting a home, equipping it and keeping it.
In the future we would like to have emergency accommodation as there is currently none for under 25s in Coventry and affordable accommodation for young people who are homeless and working and cannot afford the rent at a hostel without access to benefits.