The UK’s leading youth advisory charity today threw itself behind Centrepoint’s Young and Homeless Helpline to enable the service to provide a “groundbreaking” level of support to its callers.
The Mix, which provides a range of help to people under 25 facing issues such as drug dependency, mental health problems or family breakdown, will now work hand-in-hand with Centrepoint to ensure that those who ring the helpline receive the exact help they need when they need it.
The two charities will share the same call centre space and work together to handle the volume of calls expected. Callers will be directed between the services depending on support they need.
The collaboration has been hailed by both organisations as crucial to the success of the new national service in aiding homeless people, and young people at risk of ending up on the streets.
The Mix chief executive Chris Martin said: “Two trusted brands such as The Mix and Centrepoint working together will be able to better help the vulnerable young people who contact us each year.
“Together, the helplines will be able to make it easier for under-25s to get the best advice as early as possible to help them on the range of issues affecting them.”
Gaia Marcus, who is overseeing the Centrepoint helpline team, said: “Young people experiencing homelessness often have very complex needs.
“When they call they will now be able to get access to a range of support. We will not only help them with their urgent need to find a safe place to live but be able to provide advice and support on what could be the root causes of their homelessness.
“While Centrepoint experts can help people on their housing journey, The Mix can help people on their wider personal journey. This will be groundbreaking.”
The charities say the Helpline will fill a growing gap in advice and support offered by local authorities. Youth services nationwide are estimated to have suffered £387m in cuts over over the past six years.
There is growing pressure on homelessness services, amid the cuts, along with an increase in the demand for housing, particularly in London. Up to a third of the young people who seek homelessness support from English local authorities each year are sent away with little or no advice.
Through the Helpline, Centrepoint will provide early-intervention housing support to the growing numbers of young people already on the streets or at risk of homelessness. The Mix will offer advice and counselling on topics such as bullying, debt, drink and drugs, and mental and sexual health which can often be the trigger of people ending up on the street.
The collaboration comes as The Mix has experienced a huge rise in the number of young people seeking help with homelessness in the past year.
It received more than 2,000 calls requesting housing help, while 154,000 young people from the UK accessed homelessness content on its website.
The Mix will also help Centrepoint roll out the live web chat, SMS and other digital aspects of the helpline. The two charities sharing an office and other “back office” costs will mean more can be invested in Centrepoint’s support programmes which people using its helpline could be referred to.
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