Today I won the support of the Assembly for more action on the growing crisis of youth homelessness.
The number of young people who are homeless and sleeping rough on the streets in London is rising. Data shows that rough sleeping among 18-25 year olds increased by 47 per cent this year compared with 2019.
Before the coronavirus crisis, young people may have found help when they lose their homes by staying on a friend’s sofa or in the spare room. But evidence I have gathered shows that, due to new restrictions, many more young people can’t access informal help like sofa-surfing and are forced onto the streets.
Today the London Assembly unanimously passed a motion I proposed, asking the Mayor to dedicate a suitable proportion of GLA rough sleeping funding to specialist pan-London support for homeless young people.
My colleague Caroline Russell also presented the emergency petition from London Green Party calling on the Mayor to act, which has gained over 1,000 signatures in a short time.
And last month at MQT the Mayor admitted to me there are currently no separate safe spaces for young Londoners within his rough sleeping prevention programmes.
It’s right that the Mayor has responded to the devastating impacts the pandemic has had on housing in our city and the growth in homeless Londoners by securing additional funding. What he now needs to do is recognise the disproportionate effect the coronavirus has had on young Londoners and take action.
Young people now make 11 per cent of the total number of rough sleepers – an historic high.
In my speech, I set out why young people need protection from the harm caused by rough sleeping before it can start, and that dedicated spaces are not currently available, with under-25s facing homelessness for the very first time simply placed into existing services with older, more experienced rough sleepers.
I am very pleased that every group on the Assembly supported the motion and it’s now up to the Mayor to act.
Watch my speech at the Assembly meeting here: