'It's off the scale', youth homlessness up 65% for one London shelter

  • ITV London's Daniel Henry got exclusive access into New Horizon Youth Centre

New Horizon Youth Centre - a one stop shop for the young and homeless - has seen a 65% increase in demand by daily users in the capital.

The organisation has also reported a 44% increase in rough sleeping across London, and a massive increase in under 18's and refugees.

They see 49 new young people walk through their doors per day, and in August alone they had 60 people on average asking for help every day.

They say they are heading into the hardest winter they have faced in almost 60 years.

It comes as new homelessness figures were released by the GLA for the most recent quarter.

129,000 young people became homeless in the UK last year, of those 18,000 were in London. That's a double decker bus worth of people every day.

New Horizon provide a safe space for young people experiencing homelessness in the capital.

Simon Wild told ITV News London, "It's off the scale. There's a huge need and not enough housing to provide for everyone.

"We're seeing a huge amount of people who are working full time that can't afford a roof over their head.

"They are quite well paid but they can't afford the rents. Even in places outside London; Mitchem and Sutton they can't afford to rent a room.

"The government aren't actually stepping in to address any of the crisis."

  • Simon has been working for New Horizon for 7 years and says the housing crisis is the worst he has ever seen it.

Estate agents and private landlords asking for thousands of pounds up front for rental contracts is also pushing people out of their rented homes, Simon said.

One person who uses New Horizon's services told ITV london it was a better choice to be homeless than to try to access support.

He spent two years on the streets, moving from one park to another, sometimes sleeping in mosques, and in hostels.

"It was really the only choice because it was very clear that they didn't really know what to do. It was very confusing."

He now has a roof over his head, thanks to the support of New Horizon. "Eventually I found New Horizon and they ended up sorting out my accommodation."

  • "In the end I gave up and just decided to be homeless"

The Chief Executive Phil Kerry said the housing crisis is costing New Horizon a lot of money.

"The number one cause of youth homelessness is family breakdown. When you had covid, pressures on the family home, and now cost of living, even more pressures on the family home it's causing big issues.

Cheif Executive Phil Kerry is calling for more government investment to tackle youth homelessness.

"This has been building up for a while. This is about a systematic lack of investment from the government in young people's services and housing."

He is calling for targetted, ring fenced investment and a clear strategy from the government to ensure young people can access the support they need.