POSTCARDS FROM YOUTH HOMELESSNESS SERVICES IN THE US, UK &EUROPE <ul><li>Michael Coffey </li></ul><ul><li>CEO of YAA (NSW) </li></ul><ul><li>Board of Homelessness Australia </li></ul><ul><li>Deputy Chair of the National Youth Coalition for Housing </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>YHM09 13 th October 2009
<ul><li>Where did I go? </li></ul><ul><li>Why did I go? </li></ul><ul><li>What was the ‘big question’? </li></ul><ul><li>What did I see ? </li></ul><ul><li>What did I think ? </li></ul><ul><li>What the ???? </li></ul>
<ul><li>Six countries in 26 days </li></ul><ul><li>USA : Washington & NYC </li></ul><ul><li>UK : London & Manchester </li></ul><ul><li>Denmark : Copenhagen </li></ul><ul><li>Netherlands : Amsterdam </li></ul><ul><li>France : Paris </li></ul><ul><li>… followed by 2 days of </li></ul><ul><li>shopping in Hong Kong </li></ul>
<ul><li>Planned events and visits. </li></ul><ul><li>2 presentations and attendance at the National Alliance for Ending Homelessness Conference in Washington DC </li></ul><ul><li>Service visits in Washington DC, NYC, London, Manchester, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Paris. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Linkup and networking with services in the USA, Canada and Japan. </li></ul><ul><li>Link up and networking with academics in the UK and NGOs such as NAEH, Empire State Coalition (US), Commonground (US), FEANTSA (Europe), Foyer Federation (UK), Depaul (UK), Udenfor(DK) , Samusocial (FR), UNHAJ (FR) , FNARS (FR) </li></ul>
<ul><li>Limitations of scope. </li></ul><ul><li>I didn’t have much time so connections I made were strategic but not comprehensive. </li></ul><ul><li>The risk is that I may have looked in the wrong direction. </li></ul><ul><li>All agencies were NGOS. </li></ul><ul><li>I did not find many new empirical ‘outcomes’ studies that I trusted. </li></ul>
Why did I go ? … and what were the big questions ? ‘ White Paper’ thinking Reform or rebranding ? Concern about cheap US and UK imports Understanding overseas context and ‘backstory’ Looking for new ideas Affirming existing practices
Why did I go ? … and what were the big questions ? Developing broader understanding of youth homelessness. Experiences and practices in other countries. Thinking globally not just local Checking assumptions. Fact finding.
Why did I go ? … and what were the big questions ? Wondering if youth homelessness matters in other countries ? Why or why not ? Is there anything we can we learn ?
They have different ‘safety nets’ .. As we know in the US there is no such thing as free health system, employment benefits (and lunch) Youth homelessness services are provided by a complex array of federal, state, faith based, NGO and philanthropic interests and resources. First impressions was that it was all piecemeal and incoherent and it was difficult to coordinate.
Based on your knowledge of the difficulties in Australia in around coordinating Commonwealth /State agreements with just 8 states can you imagine what it would be like with 50+ states ? As far as a national plan goes the closet thing they have had so far to a national SAAP, is the HUD funds HUD = Housing and Urban Development.
However there are signs of life thanks to the great work by the National Alliance for Ending Homelessness (NAEH) headed up by Nan Roman and their ten year plan to end homelessness and call for street to home funding has brought a national coherence to the work.
In January 2009 the Obama govt. has ramped things up with the $US1.5 Billion Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program and economic stimulus (i.e building houses)
The BIG numbers in the US In a population of 305 million there are 670,000 + homeless people every night. In 08/09 they will spend $US4.1 billion (including new HPRP) NAEH estimate that youth homelessness services get 1% of the funding or about $195 million
The high profile groups are ex-veterans (21%) There were 83935 homeless families The profile of youth and women/child escaping DV very absent within this discourse. Chronic homeless 18%
NAEH estimates 1.6 million adolescents have one episode of homelessness each year In 2007 US NGO street outreach projects made contact with 700,000 but were only able to connect 47,400 with supported accommodation and housing.
NAEH Conference July 09 Well over a thousand delegates from NGO, faith based and Govt agencies. I presented at two sessions. Got to meet and network with services from US, Canada, Japan, UK. Youth was a ‘little’ stream throughout the conference. Ie .. “we sat at the little table separate to the main adults table”
Most of the talk was about Rapid Re-Housing, rough sleepers (or ‘unsheltered’ )ex veterans and families. About making sure that people were in the ‘homeless shelter’ system for as little time as possible. And of course … the need for more affordable housing, incomes support and more accessible health systems
Youth homelessness services were concerned about young people aging out of the child care system and lack of services for 18-25 year olds. Exposure to homeless subculture and lifestyle risks. Not enough resources for youth homeless services. That Rapid Re-Housing was a short term solution (only for some young people)
Some important differences between US and Australia. They focus more on rough sleepers and the population in shelters. They have ‘night shelters’ we don’t. They count their homeless differently. They are only beginning to recognise the need for more supported accommodation. They don’t have the same social safety net systems as Australia. Youth homelessness is low profile in policy discussion. There is a lot of hype and rhetoric about aspirational goals User pays culture rather than an inclusive culture
Sasha Bruce Youthwork On a budget of $US7 million, from HUD, state homelessness funds, donations, child protection and juvenile justice . A teen mothers program. Reach OOHC group home Program A residential service for young mothers aged 18-21 Short term shelter for youth aged 11 to 17 SAFAH Housing Assistance – preventing previously homeless families from falling back into homeless. Transitional Living Program – semi supported apartments up to 12 months. Independent Living Program – low intensive support apartments for up to 18 months A group home for 16 to 21 year olds AIDS Prevention Projects Consortium for Youth Alternatives – a juvenile justice diversion Substance abuse initiatives Mobile outreach – Project Safe Place. Mobile outreach – family counselling
Empire State Coalition In their 2007 report ( the first of its kind in 20 years) Over 3,800 young people were homeless in New York City; 1,600 of those young people spent the night outside, in an abandoned building, at a transportation site or in a car, bus, train or some other vehicle; 150 of our children spent the night with a sex work client.
<ul><li>Survey of 1000 homeless young people in NYC </li></ul><ul><li>28% of youth identified as GLBTI </li></ul><ul><li>5% of youth interviewed stated they are transgender and </li></ul><ul><li>The vast majority of youth surveyed were born in the USA or Puerto Rico (81%) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>For those outside the US </li></ul><ul><ul><li>5% were born in the Carribean </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1% were born in South America, Europe, and Africa </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>others were born in North and Central America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Mexico. </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
<ul><li>Survey of 1000 homeless young people in NYC </li></ul><ul><li>Almost 30% of youth had been in foster care at some time in their lives </li></ul><ul><li>Over 40% had been in the juvenile justice system or in jail or prison </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>The median age of the youth interviewed was 20 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Almost 30% of youth reported that they were thrown out of their homes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>15% said they had runway </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>28 % reported some other reason without specifying other reasons for homelessness included: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>parents having moved </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>parents being incarcerated </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>discharged from jail or a hospital into homelessness </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>left foster care </li></ul></ul></ul>Almost 30% had been in foster care at some time in their lives - Over 40% had been in the juvenile justice system or in jail or prison . The median age of the youth interviewed was 20 Almost 30% of youth reported that they were thrown out of their homes 15% said they had runaway other reasons for homelessness included parents having moved parents being incarcerated discharged from jail or a hospital into homelessness left foster care
In NYC I linked up with the Empire State Coalition and Commonground and spent two days visiting services. Again there were very few youth homeless services in NYC. I visited Rachel’s Place, Silva’s Place, Commonground Christopher Residence (incl the “Chelsea Foyer”. Within 30 mins of checking I was off to Hell’s Kitchen …
Silva’s Place : Two young people who insisted on photos
Rachel’s Place : a girls only services in Suburban Brooklyn Similar to a stand alone 24/7 intensive support SAAP funded youth homeless service. Seven beds. All residents are working between ages 16 – 18 years
Christopher Residence : Chelsea Foyer “ Are you aging out of foster care and not sure how to live on your own? Are you a young person who is currently homeless and needs a helping hand to get back on your feet? The Chelsea Foyer works with young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 who are homeless, at-risk of homelessness, or aging out of foster care.”
Christopher Residence : Chelsea Foyer “ At the Chelsea Foyer, each time we accept a new resident into the program, we are making an investment – not just in that young person, but in a stronger community and a better future. The young people who have completed the program have proven that we have invested wisely.” Of the alumni who have reported back to us: 93% are completely self-sufficient 90% are living in stable housing 92% are employed at least part-time 75% have health insurance 93% earned a high school diploma or GED 44% are pursuing higher education or vocational training
<ul><li>“ </li></ul>HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan – July 2009 From a keynote at the NAEH conference .. Talking about the successes of Commonground … “ We have proven that can house anyone … now the job is to house everyone”
Big Numbers in the UK In 2007 the first UK-wide review of youth homelessness for a decade revealed that despite falling numbers of young people being accepted as homeless in the last three years across England and Wales, at least 75,000 remain at risk and are in contact with homelessness services every year. … Last time they counted it was 246,000+
Big Numbers in the UK Recent analysis of the data available in London on the number of people who sleep rough indicates that 7% of rough sleepers on any given night are under the age of 25. However, we know from our own evidence that young people have very different patterns of rough sleeping to adults and those who are more entrenched rough sleepers. Centrepoint UK and University of York
Big Numbers in the UK Most young people describe sleeping rough for under one month – often just a few days – which they intersperse with sofa-surfing or staying with friends. However, this experience may occur many times before a young person finally secures temporary accommodation. Centrepoint UK and University of York
Providers of homeless services in the UK include: Centrepoint, Children England, Depaul UK, KYHP, National Childrens Bureau, Rainer, Shelter, St Basila, YPSS, YMCA, Youth Access and The Foyers Federation
De Paul UK After running for 20 years, Depaul UK helps young people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged. provide over 100,000 bed nights and we are open every day and night. prevent young people from becoming homeless by rebuilding family relationships and offering through the gate support to young offenders. provide young people with the chance to fulfil their potential in the community through education, volunteering, training and jobs. Since 1989 Depaul helped over 45,000 young people and we are now the largest UK charity for young homeless people
De Paul : Projects On an annual budget of $AUS16+ million 18 youth hostels across the UK ‘ crashpad’ temporary accommodation Nightstop projects Drive Ahead project based in London, Newcastle and Birmingham, is a six week programme (10 weeks in Newcastle) that offers the basis for young people to explore their employment and training needs alongside introductory driving lessons. Broadening Horizons scheme offers work placements for young people in a range of different environments to give them a taste of employment and to break down the barriers that exist for young homeless people to build a career. Brent Linx is an employment and skills project for 15-25 year olds in the London borough of Brent providing training in basic life skills, numeracy, literacy and IT skills.
Depaul : Outside Link – Juvenile Justice Program Depaul UK runs a number of programmes to help young people adjust to life after prison and offers them intensive support and guidance to help reduce the chances of re-offending. Outside Link schemes work with young offenders to help them find housing on release. Support continues through the gate into the community to help young people access other services and get into training, employment or volunteering.
Depaul : Nightstop Project The Nightstop Concept The Nightstop concept is simple - it is the provision of emergency accommodation for 16 to 25 year old homeless young people in the homes of approved volunteers. Nightstop Volunteers Nightstop volunteers are ordinary people who are willing to open the door of their home to help young people in need, or who offer their time to help local Nightstop services in other ways. All volunteers have to undertake specific training before commencing their volunteering role with a local Nightstop. About half the young people who are referred to Nightstop are under 18. A young person would usually stay with a host for 1 to 3 nights at a time. Should the young person still be in need of emergency accommodation then it would be normal for them to stay with another volunteer from the same service. In some areas Nightstop services have developed their support to young people to offer such services as: tenancy support, mediation, preventative education work, housing advice and supported lodgings. The first Nightstop was established in Leeds in 1987, and there are currently local Nightstop services in all of the nine government regions of England and in some regions in Scotland and Wales. Development into local communities within these regions where there is currently no provision of a Nightstop service remains a priority of Depaul Nightstop UK. What is a Nightstop service? Local Nightstops are organisations based in a local community who offer a service that is suitable for some young people who are homeless or likely to be made homeless and are aged between 16 and 25. How does Nightstop work? Nightstop provides a safe bed on a short term basis in the homes of trained and approved volunteers who are called 'hosts'. The Nightstop service will need to know some information about you to make sure that it is the best option for you. The information you give will be treated in confidence. To ensure young people are kept safe all volunteers involved with Nightstop are checked by the Criminal Records Bureau and the local Nightstop service to make sure they are suitable to take young people into their own homes. If you do stay with a host you will have a bed in a room of your own, you will also be offered an evening meal, a chance to have a bath or shower and breakfast the next morning. To see if there is a Nightstop in your area use the 'Nightstop Near You' link below. You can ring the Nightstop service direct and they will give you help and advice on how best to solve your accommodation problems. Alternatively if you know of an organisation in your area e.g. Connexions, youth service, housing departments, or the police you could ask them to contact Nightstop on your behalf. It may be possible for you to stay at a local Nightstop for a number of nights until a longer term solution can be found.
Depaul UK: Brent Youth Homelessness Service – The Crash Pad Can stay up to 8 weeks
There is a widespread consensus within all the UK countries that policy on homelessness generally, and youth homelessness specifically, is moving in the right direction and the issue is being taken seriously. However, more work needs to take place in a number of key areas, including: Early intervention (identifying children at risk, providing a greater role for housing providers, greater focus on supporting family networks) Addressing homelessness (provision of emergency accommodation in every local authority, prevention of B&B use, a case manager for each young person, recruitment of good quality staff, more formal move-on arrangements) Monitoring and research (increasing the intervention evidence base, further inquiry into rough sleeping patterns, more research on high BME homeless levels in London, monitoring of non-statutory homelessness). The main ‘trigger’ for homelessness amongst young people is relationship breakdown. Many young people have experienced long-term problems at home, often involving violence. Centrepoint UK and University of York 2007
In the UK from a number of sources I found about 90 emergency accommodation services 641 medium – long term services (including Foyers) “ The Foyer movement grew from 35 schemes in 1995 to over 144 in 2009 and now supports more than 10,000 young people each year.” Centrepoint UK and University of York
Blackburn with Darwen Foyer opened 1st April 2002 and has 44 bedspaces. Blackburn Darwen Foyer
projekt UDENFOR is a private foundation which combines active social street work with training and research in approaches to homelessness and social marginalisation. . . Project Udenfor
. . … in English, project OUTSIDE - refers to the fact that we see ourselves as a project-oriented organisation; the word ‘OUTSIDE’ refers to the fact that we literally work outside, that we work outside the official public system, and that we deal with a marginalised group of people, who are ‘outsiders’ to society in general.
The population of Denmark is 5.5 million They only count rough sleepers ’ They pay up to 50% income tax for their welfare system.
. . 5.253 homeless people in Denmark in 2007. 60% of these live in and around the capital (Copenhagen) estimated that between 11.000 and 13.000 people find themselves in a homeless-situation in a longer or shorter period during a year.
Homelessness is not a poverty issue in Denmark (though this is changing). Mainly people who opt out of what is a great welfare system by choice. Youth homelessness is ‘invisible’ i.e a child protection issue. There is a new homelessness population of eastern Europeans including families and children and young people.
Kofoeds is a classic Scandinavian ‘folk’ school . . Kofoeds Skole
Kofoed Skole For disadvantaged people including homeless. . .
Sort of like a mix of SAAP like supported accommodation, TAFE, Foyer, small cottage businesses run by community educators. Emphasis on community development rather than just curriculum . . Kofoed Skole
. . Kofoed Skole The Danish ‘folk schools’ contributed to the inspiration behind community development, civil rights movements in the 1950-60s Paulo Friere, Myles Horton There is still lots of that spirit of activitism in Denmark.
Fereratie Opvang The Federation of Shelters promotes the interests of homeless shelters and women’s shelters. The Federation monitors trends and developments, encourages innovation, initiates cooperation on national and local level and influences policy making on actual themes. Briefing by Volksbond and Opvang
About Holland Population 16 million They estimate about 6000 homeless young people. Shelters are for people over 18 years. Youth homelessness again is described more as a child protection issue or a ‘youth care’ system. Briefing by Volksbond and Opvang
Volksbond “ Youngsters : 4 different residential project (different in regard of the kind of support offered – long term/intensive/24 hours staffing/day or partial support/day activities etc. But also in target groups: teenage mothers, lower IQ, behavioral problems, psychiatric problems. Often the youngster has all this problems. Between 150 and 250 persons a year.” Briefing by Volksbond and Opvang
How many young people do you think are homeless in your country every night? “ Really homeless in Holland, (not living is one of the various services or in another provisional housings situation ) maybe between the 100 and the 250. I can’t be sure because there is no solid and reliable actual comprehensive count based on the same criteria. There are about 5000 youngster in need” Briefing by Volksbond and Opvang
Is youth homelessness a big issue in your country? It has great politic focus. It is not a really big issue in terms of volume of actual/acute homeless youngsters, but is a big issue in terms of potential homelessness. In Amsterdam a sizable percentage of children, mostly in families with a ‘cultural’ background (Morocco, Turkey , former east European countries etc) lives in some kind of economical/financial/pedagogic/emotional deprived situation. The causes and fundamental problems witch can lead to homelessness are there! Briefing by Volksbond and Opvang
What resources, policy or systemic changes do you think would improve the situation? We will have to address (policy and in social & economical system) the issues of poverty, social exclusion and – a very hot issue at this moment –cultural issues. Briefing by Volksbond and Opvang
Population 65 million The counting rules are different There is no official definition of homelessness in France. It is estimated there are 86,000 homeless people and 3 million without proper accommodation Again young people are invisible. ‘youth’ means young adults 18-25 years. Big Numbers