Being homeless means not having a safe place to call home. Thousands of young people sleep rough every night, but there are thousands more sleeping on sofas, floors, night buses or with strangers.
The reasons why young people become homeless are many and varied. A breakdown in family relationships, health issues, (both mental and physical), exclusion from school, leaving care, being a refugee or an involvement with gang crime. Perhaps a combination of some of these factors.
(Read more about youth homelessness – the causes and effects here)
A new MHP Action Group is emerging around young people and homelessness, with young people who have personal insight into homelessness together with representatives from DePaul, Centrepoint, Lifeshare, On The Out, Care Leavers Association, Manchester City Council and Street Support Network.
At this initial meeting in May 2019, the focus was on how to hear from and include more young people experiencing homelessness.
The newly-forming group would like to organise an event that includes awareness raising, food and music, workshops/insight activity, MHP Youth Action Group recruitment and possibly a fundraising element (creating an expenses pot for the ongoing group), whereby businesses, creative institutions and citizens can respond to the needs and requests of young people experiencing homelessness.
It is hoped that the event will feature the following elements:
An outdoor awareness raising event, somewhere central where people experiencing homelessness and the general public can meet, led by young people. This event will be an opportunity to develop social connections and start conversations, perhaps through food, music, arts and workshops.
Dependent on permissions for public spaces or private venues this event could be either:
- An outdoor mini-festival (afternoon & early evening) comprising all the above, (park or open city space)
- Daytime outreach in the city centre, where leaflets could be distributed plus an information hub. This could be followed by an indoor evening event with music, food etc
Other suggestions at the meeting included:
- Engaging education institutions in event promotion to include design, print and distribution of promotional material.
- Explore possible venues for outreach (suggestions include outside The Corn Exchange Castlefield).
- Source wifi hotspots and social media influencers to promote.
- Follow up with an ongoing action group based in different venues where young people are e.g. services, accommodation or neutral creative/social spaces).
- Look into possible venues and food donations.
- Look into music and other entertainment offers.
- Share info with young people experiencing homelessness
- Look into awareness raising and workshop design.
THE BIG ASKS
Can you help with, or know anyone who can help with organising this event? There’s no harm in asking, do you know of a big-hearted Event Manager/Organiser willing to help out? (You never know…). We are going to need:
A venue or venues
Music and entertainment
Design, distribution and promotion of materials both on and offline.
And probably much more….
If you think you can help get the MHP Youth Action Group moving forward, we’d love to hear from you!
It’s early days yet for the group. There’s a lot to be organised and done. However, the more young people that are involved, the more the voice of young people who are homeless will be heard.
Thanks for your time and continued support.