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New film will help homeless young people make the right housing choice

A new film to help homeless young people make informed decisions about their housing choices has been launched by St Christopher’s Fellowship, in partnership with Shelter.

‘Your future, your choices’ is designed to help 16 and 17 year olds who find themselves homeless to make life changing decisions.  The film aims to empower young people to choose whether they want to be supported by the Children Act or the Housing Act, where they are given a choice. This decision often affects the level of additional support young people receive alongside their accommodation, and how well they are supported once they move into more independent living.

Phil Townsend, Deputy Director of Operations (UK) at St Christopher’s said: “We want vulnerable young people to know that sleeping rough is not an option.  If it’s not safe for them to be at home, then their local authority will help them by providing housing and support.

“But to get the support that is right for them, they need to understand the choices they may be faced with during the assessment process – and have the confidence to express what they want.

“We have found that young people often do not understand the choices they are faced with or of what impact would be of making the wrong decision. We hope this film will demystify the issues for young people and signpost them to advice that will allow them to get the help they need.”

Diana Fawcett, Director of Operations at Shelter said: “We know that homeless 16 and 17 year olds sometimes don’t fully understand the process or the rights they have under the Children Act. As a result, many are not getting the help they need and to which they are entitled.

“We have worked with St Christopher’s on this film to help provide homeless young people with the information and advice that will allow them to make informed decisions about the kind of help they want, giving them the best chance of a successful and independent future.”

The ‘Your future, your choices’ film has been produced as part of the Wrap Project, with funding from the Ashden Trust, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, and the Big Lottery Fund.  The project involves young people in the development and production of films on subjects which are important to them and which help to give young people information in an accessible and engaging way.

The film is part of a wider programme of support delivered by St Christopher’s aimed at preventing youth homelessness and supporting young people if they become unable to live at home.  This includes the provision of support services, such as supported housing and prevention work, delivered as part of the Homeless Intervention Project: an education project delivered to schools in a number of London boroughs.