Local youth homelessness charity 1625 Independent People (1625ip) and Bristol City Council (BCC) are working in partnership to deliver an innovative new youth homelessness prevention service which aims to help young people to stay at home with their families as well as learning to live independently.
Bristol Youth MAPS will open its doors on Monday 16 October, bringing together the main agencies involved in preventing youth homelessness in Bristol.
It will be a safe and welcoming service that supports young people to develop the skills they need to live independently and with others.
The flagship service in the city centre brings together the expertise and resources of the following agencies into a single central point:
. 1625ip’s homelessness prevention services. . Bristol City Council Housing Advisors and a Social Worker. . A new Short Term Supported Lodgings Service delivered by Caring in Bristol.
The service will help in the following ways:
M [ediation] – helping young people and their families to talk things through and find solutions. A [ssessment] – working out what young people need to prepare for independence and having a safe place to live. P [revention] – intervening early to prevent young people from becoming homeless. S [upport] – helping young people to develop positive relationships and progress on their journey to learning, employment and living independently.
1625 Independent People (1625ip), who have over 30 years experience providing youth homelessness services in the South West, won the contract to lead the Bristol Youth MAPS service, following a negotiated process with Bristol City Council earlier this year.
1625ip will also provide additional support including their Big Lottery Funded services Future 4 Me and Ask Us, offering specialist support for young people leaving care or custody alongside independent advice. To help overcome some of the financial barriers faced by young people trying to access private rented housing, 1625ip are also able to offer help with Deposit Bonds and Home Essential Grants through funding from Yorkshire Building Society as part of their partnership with the national End Youth Homelessness movement.
Bristol has a severe lack of housing that is affordable and the Local Housing Allowance for young people doesn’t come close to meeting local rents. This is leading to a major risk of homelessness for Bristol’s youth and the new service will work to reduce this risk.
The key message that the partners wish to communicate to the city as a whole is: Housing in Bristol is very expensive, even if you have a stable, well-paying job. If it’s safe for a young person to live in the family home then this is usually the best option until they can afford to leave home in a planned and affordable way.
Local authorities now have less money from central Government to commission support services and this service will bring together 1625ip’s other resources to help stretched public funds. The ability to deliver services from a city centre location has been made possible with a subsidised office space provided and refurbished by Unite Students, who have been working closely alongside 1625ip to help relieve youth homelessness. The partnership is a great example of a business working together with the voluntary sector towards a shared vision of ending youth homelessness.
The charity invite any other businesses who would like to work with them to achieve this vision to contact the CEO Dom Wood directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0117 317 8800.
Councillor Helen Godwin, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Bristol City Council, said: “We recognise that there is a severe shortage of affordable housing in Bristol and it is incredibly difficult for young people to find suitable accommodation in the city at a price they can afford. “In opening this new hub, we want to create a space where young people feel comfortable and can find access to the support services they need – all under one roof. The aim of the new plan is to work more effectively across the council, and with partners, to provide an integrated approach and help young people and their families resolve their housing problems before they reach crisis point.
“Where possible, we want to find solutions that allow young people to stay living at home with their families – as long as it is safe to do so.”
Dom Wood, CEO of 1625 Independent People, commented: “We have wanted to help deliver a co-located service for young homeless people for many years, with the knowledge that bringing the services together would be the best way to provide a seamless offer to young people threatened with homelessness.
“We want to move the support ‘upstream’ to try and prevent young people becoming homeless in the first instance - before they reach crisis point. Prevention is always better than the cure and with this service and the support of Bristol City Council, Caring in Bristol, Unite Students and hopefully others in the future, we can make a real, sustainable difference in young people’s lives in a way that has not been possible before.”
Richard Smith, CEO of Unite Students, said: “At Unite Students, we understand the importance that having somewhere to call home has in supporting young people to get the most out of their time at university. Knowing you have a warm, dry and safe place to sleep at night is a basic essential for all young people whether they are studying at university or not. That’s why we are proud to collaborate with 1625ip and Bristol City Council, to do what we can to help reduce the risks of youth homelessness in the city we have called home for over 25 years.”