New approach to homelessness prevention | Depaulcharity

Depaul helps people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.

New approach to homelessness prevention

By Mark Robinson - 3 January 2019

 

In 2019 Depaul UK is launching a bold new approach to tackling homelessness, including new types of education and support work in schools. National Prevention Services Manager Mark Robinson has blogged about how the prevention work has been developed, and the next steps to implement it.

Every year thousands of young people find themselves with nowhere safe to stay. Many of these young people don’t seek any support. Many are turned away from statutory services. Many have no idea where to turn.

At Depaul UK, we are committed to acting to prevent youth homelessness. We want to work with young people early, before they reach a crisis point, and to stop young people from sleeping in unsafe places.

That’s why we’re developing exciting new prevention work for 2019.

In 2018 we undertook a detailed review of our own work and carried out research into what is being done in the sector. We also spoke to young people in our services about their experiences at school. Whilst many organisations are working hard to prevent youth homelessness, it is clear that there is much more to do. Many young people don’t learn about the reality of youth homelessness at school.

Building on the success of our existing programmes, in 2019 we will launch a new national education programme. We’ll deliver this in the four regions Depaul UK works in, in partnership with schools, colleges and other education providers.

The implementation of the programme will involve a well-planned test period, enabling us to try out, evaluate and improve our workshops. This way we’ll know we’re delivering a programme that has a tangible impact on young peoples’ lives.

We plan to use digital media and creative techniques to deliver bold and hard-hitting workshops to all young people in our partner schools. We will ensure they have an accurate understanding of youth homelessness and that they know how to recognise and address some it its key causes. Crucially, we’ll make sure they feel confident to seek further support if they need it.

This is essential work, but it is just the first step.

To have a significant impact on the young people we work with, we want to do more. Rather than just making them more aware, we want to develop their skills and resilience.

We know that homelessness is extremely complex and can be caused by multiple issues. However, we also know that there are several key factors that cause young people to be unable to stay at home. That’s why we’ll also work with education professionals to target young people at a higher risk of homelessness. These young people will take part in a more intensive intervention which will focus on the following four focus areas:

  • Supporting young people to develop their mental wellbeing;
  • Teaching young people to develop healthy relationships;
  • Equipping young people with the tools to manage conflict;
  • Empowering young people to make safer choices.

Our prevention work with schools will also include training school staff on how to support young people facing homelessness and delivering workshops with parents.

This new programme will sit alongside our other prevention services as part of our plan to operate Prevention Hubs in each of our regions. Services offered at these hubs will include our well-established Nightstop service and work with families, including mediation.

We’re really excited about beginning to trial and implement our innovative new programme in 2019.

If you work in an educational setting and are interested in talking about a partnership, please get in touch with mark.robinson@depaulcharity.org.uk.

We’re also looking for passionate people to join our expanding team. If you have experience working with young people and want to make a difference in people’s lives, find out how to apply by emailing: mark.robinson@depaulcharity.org.uk.

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