A charity which offers a safe haven to North East teenagers facing life on the streets has been handed a funding boost of £100,000.
Supporting around 1,000 16 to 25-year-olds living in Newcastle and the surrounding areas each year, Depaul makes it its mission that all young people have a safe place to sleep.
The breakdown in family relationships, domestic abuse and drugs and alcohol problems can all lead to young people being forced from their homes, sofa-hopping at friends’ places before being faced with the reality of nowhere to go.
According to Depaul, the region has lost 55 fewer bed spaces available to homeless people in recent years, with 63% of homelessness services being hit by reduced funding.
Steven McKinlay, Depaul area director for the North, said: “Until someone is 16 they cannot apply for a tenancy by law and so we support them at our accommodation like Simonside House, in Heaton.
“We have strong links with the councils’ tenancy departments who often prefer young people to have come to us first as they are then better equipped for independent living and the responsibilities it brings.
“We support 1,000 people a year but for me it is not the amount of young people who come to us but the reasons why.
“For some it is the breakdown in a family relationships or drugs and alcohol, but in the North East domestic violence is a growing issue for us, both from family members and abusive partners.”
The funding of £100,000, from the People’s Postcode Lottery, will be put towards the charity’s learning and work service programme to better give young people the skills and knowledge they need to succeed at college and in the workplace.
Martin Houghton-Brown, Depaul chief executive said: “So many of the young people we work with badly want to work, want to secure a job and get on a path to achieve their goals and dreams.
“All too often, and for various reasons, our residents are likely to have had their education interrupted.
“Youth homelessness is an issue in the North East. An increasing problem we are seeing is more young people who previously have set themselves up independently suddenly finding they are losing their jobs and are unable to stay where they are.”