With the promise of more jobs and a better life, thousands of young people flooded into London in the 1960s.
But without enough affordable housing to accommodate them, many ended up alone and living on the streets of the city.
Reverend Ken Leech was based at St Anne’s Church in Soho during the period and saw the damage done to those left on the streets, vulnerable to prostitution and drug-taking.
In 1969, with just £30 in his bank account, he decided to collaborate with the Simon Community - a collective of homeless people and volunteers - to open up the doors of his church and young homeless people in for temporary shelter.
The first night the basement was opened no one turned up but, within a month, there were 600 people coming for each night.
By the end of the first year the church had hosted 5,000 young people.
Rev. Leech went on to help set up the first homeless hostel for young people the following year.
In an interview with Rev Leech in 2004, The Guardian reported that the name Centrepoint was chosen for the shelter as a pointed reminder of the new tower block Centre Point, built onTottenham Court Road.
The building stood empty for years as a loophole in the law made it cheaper for the owner, making millions for them as hundreds of young people slept on the streets.
But others suggested that the name is less associated with the landmark building and was, instead, chosen because the church was at the centre of the parish.
One of the first people Centrepoint helped was Sandy Marks, who went on to be the Mayor of Islington in 1996.
In 1970, aged just 16, she stayed with the charity when it offered homeless people shelter for up to three consecutive nights.
The causes of homelessness
The causes of homelessness
1/7 Family Breakdown
Relationship breakdown, usually between young people and their parents or step-parents, is a major cause of youth homelessness. Around six in ten young people who come to Centrepoint say they had to leave home because of arguments, relationship breakdown or being told to leave. Many have experienced long-term problems at home, often involving violence, leaving them without the family support networks that most of us take for granted
2/7 Complex needs
Young people who come to Centrepoint face a range of different and complex problems. More than a third have a mental health issue, such as depression and anxiety, another third need to tackle issues with substance misuse. A similar proportion also need to improve their physical health. These problems often overlap, making it more difficult for young people to access help and increasing the chances of them becoming homeless
Young people's chances of having to leave home are higher in areas of high deprivation and poor prospects for employment and education. Many of those who experience long spells of poverty can get into problem debt, which makes it harder for them to access housing
4/7 Gang Crime
Homeless young people are often affected by gang-related problems. In some cases, it becomes too dangerous to stay in their local area meaning they can end up homeless. One in six young people at Centrepoint have been involved in or affected by gang crime
5/7 Exclusion From School
Not being in education can make it much more difficult for young people to access help with problems at home or health problems. Missing out on formal education can also make it more difficult for them to move into work
6/7 Leaving Care
Almost a quarter of young people at Centrepoint have been in care. They often have little choice but to deal with the challenges and responsibilities of living independently at a young age. Traumas faced in their early lives make care leavers some of the most vulnerable young people in our communities, with higher chances of poor outcomes in education, employment and housing. Their additional needs mean they require a higher level of support to maintain their accommodation
Around 13 per cent of young people at Centrepoint are refugees or have leave to remain, meaning it isn't safe to return home. This includes young people who come to the UK as unaccompanied minors, fleeing violence or persecution in their own country. After being granted asylum, young people sometimes find themselves with nowhere to go and can end up homeless
"A lot of homeless people came to London thinking the streets were paved with gold," she told the BBC in 2005.
"They thought you'd turn up, get a job and somewhere to live. They ended up, like me, sleeping in bushes.
"You got soup and a roll and had to leave early. But it gave me respite to think about what the hell I was doing. In 1970, getting a job, a bedsit and back on your feet was easier."
Ms Marks, added: "Now there are thousands of hostel places, but it's almost impossible to get somewhere to rent.
"The longer a person is homeless, the longer their own strength is destroyed. Projects that enable people to build self-esteem are invaluable."
Prince William became patron of the charity in 2005, following in the footsteps of his mother Princess Diana.
Now, almost 50 years after the charity was launched, it has helped more than 116,000 young people.
It has moved on from just providing shelter, to helping people build their lives again with counselling, education and life skills.Reuse content