Homelessness is a far bigger problem than rough sleeping alone. Every night, across the UK, thousands of young people are homeless but hidden from view. They’re sleeping on sofas and crashing on floors. They’re not included in the official homelessness statistics, because they’re not sleeping on the street.
Imagine how it would feel if you had to beg your friends and family for a sofa to crash on every night, and the only thing between you and having to sleeping on the street was their goodwill? Now imagine how it would feel if you’d been doing this for months, and their patience was wearing thin. Where would you go if the council couldn’t help, and you didn’t have enough money for a deposit for a tenancy?
A problem for many young people is that they’re not classed as vulnerable. For the council to house them, they must be in priority need, which is a legal category reserved for people under 18, those with serious health issues, pregnant women or people with children, and other very specific circumstances. For most young people they’re simply not vulnerable enough. The council has a duty to help them find housing, but they don’t have a duty to provide it.
To get a tenancy with a private landlord, you would generally need a deposit, perhaps rent in advance, a job, and a guarantor or a good credit history. To get a tenancy with the council or a housing association you could be waiting for many years. For many young people, there is quite literally nowhere to go.
This is why programmes like Smart Steps are so important. We provide housing for people with no other housing option. We can offer training flats for people who need a bit more support, and access to shared private rented housing without needing a deposit or rent in advance, and without having to have a job or pass a credit check. Without Smart Steps, people sofa-surfing in Sheffield would have very few housing options.
We are a small Sheffield housing charity, with no government funding. We have housed hundreds of young homeless people in Sheffield, and this year we will house at least another 60. We make sure people feel safe and secure in their new home with their new housemates, and we provide support and coaching to keep their tenancy and achieve their goals.
We rely entirely on fundraising from grants, rental income, and fundraising from the public. Without this support, we wouldn’t be able to provide housing for the young people who are sofa-surfing and homeless in Sheffield.
We need your help to continue this work. Your support will help us make sure that people have somewhere decent and safe to live, with everything they need to get started in their first home. We make sure everyone has what they need for their tenancy, including bedding, pillows, duvets, pots, cutlery, and towels. By supporting us with a one-off or monthly donation, you will help us make sure that no young person in Sheffield needs to be homeless, and no-one needs to worry about having nowhere to go.
If you would like to support Nomad in our work, we would be grateful for your support. You can donate by clicking the link.
If you need support with anything in this blog, or if you need housing, get in touch with Nomad.