Peter McVerry Trust welcomes the new Youth Homelessness Strategy, announced by the Minister for Housing today. Protecting vulnerable young people is at the core of the work and ethos of our charity – we want to prevent as many young people from entering homelessness services as possible, and if they do, ensure that their experience is as short as possible.
To that extent, we support the proposed measures in the strategy to prevent young people from entering homelessness, improving the experiences of young people accessing emergency accommodation and helping young people to exit homelessness for good.
Prevention is a key part of this strategy and of our work. We’ll continue to increase investment in our two Learning Centres, which offer an alternative learning space to young people who have left school early and helps them understand the positive impact education can have on their lives.
The strategy outlines the importance of a holistic approach to young people’s needs within emergency accommodation. Staff within our emergency accommodation services are trained in trauma-informed care and undertake LGBTI+ workshops to ensure that they have a better understanding of LGBTI+ issues and the various forms of discrimination faced by members of this community.
St Catherine’s Foyer, our homeless accommodation service for people aged between 18 and 24, provides 35 young people with a safe and secure home whilst they transition into adulthood. Our Activation service works with young people in our services to support them to avail of education and training opportunities – enabling them to secure employment and progress on to live independent lives.
Under the new strategy, we will continue to work with Government partners to help more young people to exit homelessness. Our dedicated Aftercare services will work with Tulsa to give care leavers a safe and secure home and to equip them with the necessary skills needed for positive self-care, independent living and social integration.
As an Approved Housing Body, we have a dedicated annual target to bring in one-bedroom apartments with ringfenced supports for care leavers to ensure as many care leavers as possible get a key to the door. To date, we have provided 44 one bed units for care leavers across 5 counties – our aim is to double this over the next two years.
We look forward to working with Government, State Bodies and Statutory Partners on these new measures aimed at reducing the number of young people impacted by homelessness and changing lives for the better.