Homelessness has become a major issue in Milton Keynes over the last few years. According to Vital Signs 2019, a report published by the MK Community Foundation, 1 in every 117 people in Milton Keynes are homeless. This figures does not take into consideration the hidden homeless, so those sofa-surfing or living in temporary accommodation. With the number of local rough sleepers increasing year on year, how long can we continue to look the other way?
Why does Milton Keynes have so many homeless people?
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Milton Keynes is one of the most unaffordable UK towns. It’s not unusual for private tenants to pay double the rent of council occupants in similar neighbouring properties. Our town has the highest number of council homes sold to private landlords under right to buy than any other UK town at 71% – compared with a national average rate of 40%.
The average house price is now 10 x the average annual salary in Milton Keynes so it’s impossible for local young people to step foot onto the property ladder.
Rocketing house prices, family breakdown and mental health issues are just some of the reasons why young people become homeless. Many of them find themselves socially isolated, with little to no support network around them, so they come to YMCA MK for help.
What are we doing to tackle the youth homelessness crisis?
The government pledged to eradicate homelessness by 2027. In Milton Keynes, an article was published on MKFM stating that our local Labour-led council has committed an additional £700K in their budget to tackle the homelessness crisis in our area.
In 2017, YMCA MK became an approved social housing provider and we announced our ambitious plans for our £19M development in the heart of CMK. Our new campus will open its doors in just 4 months time and will enable us to support 199 young people through emergency accommodation, longer term accommodation, support, training and well-being services.
“Our new campus will help vulnerable young people to become independent and will allow us to offer residents advice and workshops on things like career development and health and well-being”, says Simon Green, CEO of YMCA Milton Keynes.
“We’re providing a bold solution to youth homelessness; a bed is just the beginning. We’re the only local charity providing dedicated accommodation and support programmes to the local young people of MK”, concludes Simon.