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Social Justice

Youth charity to give young people cash to help with the cost of living crisis

Youth homelessness charity New Horizon has launched a £25,000 Young Londoner’s Winter Relief scheme after criticising government inaction on the cost of living crisis

A youth homelessness charity will give young people cash grants of up to £300 after criticising the government for failing to act on the cost of living crisis.

New Horizon Youth Centre and partners Land Aid, The Progress Foundation and Greater Change have launched the Young Londoner’s Winter Relief scheme with a £25,000 pot to prevent thousands of youngsters from losing their homes.

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New Horizon chief executive Phil Kerry said the scheme, announced as Liz Truss is set to take over as prime minister, is in response to rising energy bills and inflation.

“The government may not have been willing to act so far but in our work we see every day that an urgent response is needed now,” said Kerry. “We know that this cost of living crisis will lead to the worst possible consequences for young people who are already dealt with hardship, and now also have to battle an extra barrier to reach independence and find a safe place they can call home.

“The Young Londoner’s Winter Relief scheme will buy time while waiting for structural solutions, providing a vital lifeline for young people who have no safety net.”

So far, the government has announced a £150 council tax rebate and a £400 grant to help households with energy bills as the price cap is set to hit £3,549 a year in October.

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Boris Johnson spent the summer saying new measures were on the way as the campaign to find the new leader of the Conservative Party raged on.

Truss has promised new measures on energy bills within a week of her appointment and is reportedly set to press ahead with a plan to freeze bills at the current price cap of £1,971 for two years.

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But the wait has been too long for struggling youngsters.The Young Londoner’s Winter Relief scheme aims to provide immediate support in the interim with organisers pledging to actively  seek to grow the number of young people it can support after a £25,000 trial period..

The grants are available to young people supported by the London Youth Gateway, a London-wide partnership led by New Horizon. Last year it supported over 3,600 youngsters to prevent or solve their homelessness for good.

But this year more support is needed, according to the chief executive of youth homelessness charity LandAid, Paul Morrish.

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As well as dealing with rising energy bills and inflation, young people on low incomes also receive a quarter less in universal credit than adults aged over 25 while the national living wage is also lower for youngsters aged between 16 and 22 years of age.

“Through no fault of their own, young people being supported by London’s youth homelessness charities face terrifying increases in basic costs – food, heating, travel,” said Morrish.

“LandAid is delighted to play its part, alongside other fellow funders, in offering some immediate financial support, and reassurance, for those young people most in need. This autumn and winter will be hard.”

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