Tackling the Cost-of-Living Crisis for Unhoused Young People
The impact of the cost of living crisis on young people
The cost-of-living crisis is making it harder for everyone to meet basic needs, from putting food on the table, to paying fuel costs to get to work and keeping homes warm. It’s more than just people struggling to pay their bills. Young people, particularly unhoused young people are uniquely experiencing the cost of living crisis from the rest of the population. It is limiting young people’s ability to access training and development opportunities, keeping them stuck in poverty, never mind the pressure of trying to find an affordable and sustainable home.
Imagine being one of the young people we support, living on a limited income and often without any support from family. To be a young person living on your own can be daunting at the best of times, but with the current inflation rate, you are choosing between eating and switching on the electricity. You are young and have so much potential, but you are just surviving, and all your ambitions for the future come second to the basics of food, utilities, and rent.
The rental crisis and rent deposits
In the past few years, the price of private rent in Northern Ireland’s capital has skyrocketed. ONS figures reveal a jump of 8.4% in 2022 – more than anywhere else in the UK, and it feels like Belfast has become the epicentre of a rental crisis. With the demand for privately rented properties increasing, landlords have been allowed to ask what they want for deposits, with some young people being asked to pay £2000 for access to a two bedroom property.
Despite positive changes to the private rented sector through the Private Tenancies Act (2022) that make renting more accessible, young people still have to find a way to pay large deposits.
How does EveryYouth’s Housing Fund help young people?
This is where the EveryYouth’s Housing Fund has been invaluable. Providing rent deposits with the support of EveryYouth has enabled us to find young people homes in the private rented sector, even at this difficult time.
Without this funding, it would be impossible for young people to access the private rented market as private landlords request rent in advance along with a deposit of the same value. Due to the cost of living crisis, EveryYouth has increased the amount available to each young person, now offering up to £1600, a 6% increase from last year, to help secure a property. We need each other to thrive and EveryYouth’s support is making a huge difference to the lives of our young people. As this cost of living crisis continues, and with no clear end in sight, we need support more than ever to make a difference in the lives of our young people who have not had a fair deal and who deserve to have opportunities that allow them to reach their full potential.