Housing

Forget Black Friday, it’s Bleak Friday for 18,000 homeless young people

Youth homelessness Centrepoint has dubbed today ‘Bleak Friday’ to raise awareness of the number of youngsters spending Christmas without a place to stay

homeless

More than 18,000 young people are at risk of homelessness this Christmas, according to research by homelessness charity Centrepoint.

The youth homelessness charity has dubbed today Bleak Friday – a week on from mega-spending consumer event Black Friday – to raise awareness of the plight of young Brits aged 16-25 in the UK.

A 2.000-strong online survey found that 40 per cent of people reported seeing more young people sleeping rough in the past few years.

Christmas is a season to splurge with thousands enjoying the Black Friday deals, but for young homeless people it can be bleak, scary, and sometimes life-threatening

However, that does not tell the full story with a quarter of homeless young people sofa-surfing and 68 per cent staying temporarily with friends to avoid abusive situations.

A further three quarters of 16-25 year olds expect to feel loved and content over the Christmas period while eight out of 10 expect to spend Christmas in their family home.

But a quarter of homeless young people will not have that the same opportunity, spending the holiday with a stranger because they have nowhere to stay.

For Centrepoint Manchester hostel resident Josh, a family dispute – one of the leading causes of homelessness – led to him spending Christmas on the streets when he was 18.

“I was made homeless on Christmas day when I was 18. I was admitted to hospital in chronic pain and diagnosed with sciatica,” he said.

“A relative visited and told me that, following a family argument the night before, I was no longer welcome at home. I was discharged from hospital to the streets. I just had some clothes, my phone and my medication.

“I went to Centrepoint in Manchester where my key worker helped place me in supported accommodation, and onto a course where I could get the skills to live independently.”

Centrepoint CEO Seyi Obakin added: “For many, Christmas is a season to splurge with thousands enjoying the Black Friday deals, but for young homeless people it can be bleak, scary, and sometimes life-threatening.

“With the problem of youth homelessness growing, we need help now more than ever to protect these vulnerable young people and help them have a brighter New Year.”

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