Youth homelessness costs have many dimensions - individual, social and economic
There are a range of solutions that we, as a community, can adopt.
What the research is showing us is that if we support young people as soon as they need help they better off they will be in the long term. This means effective early intervention measures aimed at young people at risk of homelessness who are still in schools or who are not yet chronically homeless.
However it is also vitally important that there is sufficient support and resourcing for young people who are homeless and accommodated in specialist youth homelessness services.
One of the appraoches NYCH adopts to work towards ending youth homelessness is the spectrum of housing and support.
The spectrum is a way of describing and mapping all of the parts and services that need to be in place in order to effectively respond to and end youth homelessness.
This ‘wrap around’ concept is centred on the needs and rights of the young person at risk of or experiencing homelessness, rather than on a particular model. The thinking here is that all models of service operate with a mixture of the different elements of the spectrum.
There are a variety of different needs and risks for each young person (not just one point of entry into homelessness) and there needs to be a choice and mix of what are the most appropriate elements of the spectrum to use.
The spectrum enhances the concept of the idea of a continuum, as the continuum was often misunderstood and associated with throughput, one direction and one point of entry.
Note that we have distinguished prevention (as systemic work) from early intervention (as work we do once a risk has been identified). The systemic work is critical and was left out of the early thinking