St Basils facilitates a hundred homeless young people to prepare for next youth homeless parliament in March, focusing on homelessness reduction bill

May 22, 2017

100 homeless young people, supported by 9 agencies across England, are gearing up for the next Youth Homeless Parliament (YHP) which is facilitated by St Basils and will be taking place on 21st March 2017, at Parliament in Westminster, London.

As well as reviewing the recommendations young people attending the last YHP made and reviewing progress, this YHP, by a special request from the Homelessness Minister, Marcus Jones MP, will be developing a set of recommendations for implementing the prevention and relief services in the Homelessness Reduction Bill.

The young people have also been asked to consider ‘What support do Care Leavers need to maintain tenancies and live independently within the community?’ and ‘What types of early intervention would help reduce young vulnerable people from offending or re-offending? Marcus Jones MP will be in attendance to hear their response.

National consultations have also been taking place up and down the country with the young people from the 9 agencies (St Basils, NYRG, Centrepoint, Crisis, DePaul, The Foyer Federation, Homeless Link, St Mungo’s, and YMCA) that make up the YHP to prepare young people for the Youth Homeless Parliament event and to consider and answer these questions.

The National Youth Reference Group (NYRG) which St Basils also facilitates, held a consultation on 13th of December so 25 NYRG members supported by smaller charities across England, could consider their answers to these questions.  The day included a presentation from Abby Johnson from the Department for Communities and Local Government which aimed to help the NYRG members understand the changes the Homelessness Reduction Bill will bring if approved. She explained it will require local authorities to work with more people at risk of homelessness for longer and widen the support available to those in crisis. She explained that information and advice on preventing homelessness will be available for all applicants threatened with homelessness, not just those in priority need, they will develop a Personal Housing Plan with local councils and prevention will start earlier at 56 days rather than 28.

Jo Beck, one of our national Youth Homelessness Advisors then explained how this Bill should improve things for young people and those threatened with homelessness.

The NYRG members were then set the task of answering this question; ‘How should the new prevention and relief duties be implemented that will work best for young people?’ and have been asked to provide a brief overview of their main points to Marcus Jones MP and the next ministerial working group on 14th March 2017.

Two members who will be leaving NYRG shortly and are also our board members; Sean Marsay and Gina Reid, along with St Basils young person Holli Parchment will be attending to present the young people’s recommendations which include:

  • Better collaboration between agencies
  • Programmes to prevent and raise awareness of youth homelessness in schools
  • Increased funding for Family Mediation and crash pads/ time out facilities

The consultation process piloted with NYRG was repeated with St Basils’ young people on Wednesday 15th February. Sixteen St Basils’ young people accessing services in a variety of locations across the West Midlands region took part in the consultation and will represent St Basils as Youth Homeless Parliament members. They will also attend bespoke training facilitated by St Basils National Engagement team with the help of the more experienced NYRG members, to explain the aim of the event so that the new young people really understand why they are there and feel empowered to take part and won’t feel like they can’t speak, as the whole aim of the Youth Homeless Parliament is to give homeless young people a voice on a national scale.

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