Worcestershire charity launches support service to cut youth homelessness

Nearly half of people accessing homeless accommodation services are aged between 16 and 24 years old. Worcestershire based registered charity The Homeless Foundation, with the financial support of John Campion, West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, is aiming to reduce that number with the launch of innovative online preventative support platform HiHomie.

It’s estimated that over 120,000 young people ask their local authority for help every year due to homelessness or a risk of becoming homeless, although these figures could mask the true scale of the problem as many may not seek help. Experiencing homelessness as a young age can have a powerful impact throughout an individual’s life. The Homeless Foundation saw a significant gap in the current care provided and the goal of HiHomie is to offer support and advice to those considering leaving home. Through the site vulnerable young people are able to access the guidance they need to reassess a decision to leave home or, if they decide it is the best option, ensure that it is as safe as possible.

Joanne O’Donnell, Trustee of The Homeless Foundation and HiHomie Creator, said, “For young people considering leaving home they can struggle to have access to the advice and guidance they need to make an informed choice about what their options are for living independently. HiHomie aims to fill the significant gap in early preventative work. We understand that staying at home isn’t always an option and can help those with no choice understand how to keep safe and access support services.”

O’Donnell continued, “HiHomie is the first online youth homeless prevention service in the UK. Homie is that big brother, there to support and help rethink a decision to leave home or at least ensure that a move is planned and safe.”

John Campion said: “I am pleased to support The Homeless Foundation with its new website. In my Safer West Mercia Plan I have prioritised putting victims, and our most vulnerable, first. I therefore want to ensure that they have access to the support they need. This site provides a large amount of advice for those considering leaving home, whatever their circumstances are.”

HiHomie is currently operating in Worcestershire but The Homeless Foundation would like to roll out the concept across the nation if funding can be found. The launch of HiHomie forms part of a wider initiative from The Homeless Foundation that aims to deliver an effective homeless pathway within Worcestershire for young people. The solution provided by the registered charity has a focus on education and early intervention to tackle the underlying causes of homelessness rather than just the symptoms.

To find out more visit http://www.hihomie.org/ .