Engaging hard-to-reach young people
The London Youth Gateway supports young people facing multiple marginalisation. Each of the partners has a long and successful track record in engaging precisely this often hard-to-reach group. We know what works: self-referral possibilities, outreach and operating within an extensive network of statutory and voluntary agencies.
To illustrate, and excluding brief telephone advice and school workshops, the sources of referral and signposting to lead partner New Horizon Youth Centre in 2013/14 are:
- 8% statutory services (e.g. probation, housing option services, social services)
- 26% word-of-mouth or the internet
- 32% NHYC outreach services
- 33% the voluntary sector
The other London Youth Gateway partners see similar referral and signposting patterns.
The vast majority of young people we support are between a rock and a hard place: they will not be considered as being in housing priority need, but most will be (street) homeless, in housing need or at risk. At New Horizon Youth Centre this becomes evident in onwards referrals: only 13% of the centre’s clients were referred to Housing Options or Social Services. Most of its other referrals concerned (re)connecting young people with relevant other agencies in their borough of origin.
This all indicates that the London Youth Gateway succeeds in :
- working with those vulnerable, homeless young people who tend to struggle gaining access to, or do not know where to find, services elsewhere
- helping to prevent young people presenting unnecessarily at statutory housing and homelessness services
- avoiding duplication of services by linking in beneficiaries with their local agencies when appropriate and available.
In brief, we manage to catch exactly those young people in housing who would otherwise be at risk of falling through the nets.