Homes and Hopes – October 2016

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In February 2016, Youth Homeless North East (YHNE) and Crisis Skylight Newcastle undertook a collaborative research project into the housing experiences, fears and aspirations of young people affected by homelessness, with a particular focus on the role of housing-related benefits in their ability to access and sustain housing.

The objectives of the project were to:

  • Understand young people’s experiences of claiming Housing Benefit
  • Explore and improve young peoples’ understanding of proposed changes to Housing Benefit for some young people; and
  • Consider the likely consequences of young people aged 18 to 21 not having recourse to housing-related benefits in the future.

It is hoped that the findings of the project help to inform government thinking on the future allocation of Housing Benefit for young people.

Key findings

  • All but one of the young people (97%), were in receipt of Housing Benefit and had experience of homelessness.
  • Of 29 participants, 25 (87%) had had their benefits sanctioned at some point and most felt that the sanctions applied were unfair and unjustified.
  • Several talked about a constant level of anxiety associated with the fear of being sanctioned and the adverse impacts of this on their mental health.
  • For some, Housing Benefit provided them with a lifeline at a time of crisis and prevented, or took them out of, a situation of rough sleeping.
  • All of the participants shared a concern about the impacts of the proposed changes on young people’s mental health and engagement in risky behaviours such as substance misuse.


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