Having a safe place to call home should be a basic right. Yet levels of homelessness in the UK, including rough sleeping, ‘sofa-surfing’, and those living in unsuitable temporary housing, remain significant. Those leaving the care system face even higher levels of risk.
There are many reasons why people end up homeless. For young people it often starts with a family or relationship breakdown. Structural factors, including changes to the benefits system, increasing rents and a lack of affordable housing, all also play a part. One third of care leavers become homeless in the first two years after they transition to independent living and 25% of all homeless people have been in care at some point in their lives.1
Temporary accommodation should only ever be a short-term solution, but due to the lack of other options it is often used to house families for long periods. In June 2019, almost 130,000 children lived in temporary accommodation.2 Children who grow up in unstable and unsuitable accommodation may struggle with feeling safe and settled, and this can have a long-lasting impact on their lives.
The Covid-19 crisis has seen an increased focus on the risks facing homeless people. Changes to government policy led to thousands of rough sleepers being housed in hotels where they could selfisolate effectively. However, the crisis has also created a sharp rise in people becoming homeless for the first time, whether through loss of income or the pressures put on personal relationships during lockdown.
We partner with charities that believe homelessness can and should be ended. Their services include preventative work with young people at risk of homelessness, and holistic support for people who find themselves homeless, to help them move on into safe, secure and sustainable housing as quickly as possible.
130,000In June 2019, 130,000 children lived in temporary accommodation.
25%of all homeless people have been in care at some point in their lives.
£1,000,000This year we have invested £1m to tackle homelessness
This year, the Foundation invested almost £1m in helping people find and keep stable and secure accommodation. Our six charity partners in the Combatting Youth Homelessness programme continued to deliver services to help homeless or at-risk young people.
107 employees from across Berkeley Group took part in Crisis’ Square Mile Run event in May 2019, raising over £24,000. We also had 43 volunteers helping at Crisis at Christmas, and weekly volunteers from Berkeley St Edward serving breakfast at The Connection at St-Martinin-the-Fields.
Learning & sharing
We held two events with MyBnk in October 2019 and February 2020, showcasing the impact of The Money House programme in Newham and Greenwich. The attendees heard from young people who had taken part in the programme. The events helped to strengthen connections between MyBnk, the local authority, other funders, and the local Berkeley businesses
1,149We have supported 1,149 people facing or experiencing homelessness this year
64%reduction in eviction rates for young people who have taken part in The Money House
90homeless young people took part in careers advice sessions provided by Central Eltham Youth Project
1One additional Money House opened in Westminster
Carla is a young person with experience of care who was referred to Settle, an award-winning social enterprise, in June 2019. She was about to move into her first home when they got in touch.
Emily, who is 18 and from Greenwich, took part in The Money House programme this year: “I study Health and Social Care at college. I’m doing this course so I can learn how to manage my money.”
Jane is 24. She was made homeless after experiencing family breakdown, and found herself alternating between sleeping rough, sofa surfing, and staying in all-night bars to keep out of the cold.
Owen used to run a mechanics business and owned a house in London, but was a victim of theft and fraud and lost both his business and his home.
Preventing youth homelessness
Prevention must be a priority if we have any hope of ending homelessness altogether. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a growing number of young people seeking help: Centrepoint recorded a 36% increase from the start of lockdown in March 2020 to the end of April.3 Reasons include losing a zero-hour contract job and being asked to move out of a temporary place such as a friend’s sofa.
Access to sustainable housing
While there are many reasons why people become homeless, housing is a primary need in every single case. There is good evidence that enabling people to move into a permanent home as quickly as possible is one of the most effective ways to help them deal with the challenges they are facing.
Ending rough sleeping
At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, government, local authorities, charities and businesses acted quickly to support rough sleepers to leave the streets, demonstrating just how much can be achieved in a short space of time. In just over two months, under the ‘Everybody In’ initiative, more than 90% of rough sleepers known to councils at the beginning of the pandemic were housed in hotels or other accommodation where they could safely self-isolate and protect themselves from the virus.4 The challenge now is to enable them to stay off the streets for good.
Our charity partners have been heavily involved in this initiative – co-ordinating services, providing support to people housed in temporary accommodation, and leading calls for temporary measures to be extended to prevent homeless people being returned to the street.
1 All Party Parliament Group for Ending Homelessness. Homelessness prevention for care leavers, prison leavers and survivors of domestic violence. July 2017: Report 1
2 Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. Statutory Homelessness, April to June (Q2) 2019: England. December 2019
3 Centrepoint. Locked out: Youth Homelessness during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. August 2020
4 Gov.uk. 6,000 new supported homes as part of landmark commitment to end rough sleeping. May 2020.
Berkeley Group employees have found a huge range of ways to support our homelessness sector partners this year. As well as fundraising, staff have volunteered with Crisis this year, supporting with employability workshops and at Crisis at Christmas drop in centres. The activities raise important funds and awareness of the issue of homelessness.
Berkeley staff have raised £186,000 for our homeless sector partners this year.
St George put on their annual tag rugby on one of the hottest days of 2019, raising over £13,000 for SPEAR and Honeypot Children’s Charity.
A team from the Berkeley Foundation and Berkeley Commercial spent a day in a warehouse in Southwark, helping Crisis with the logistics for Crisis at Christmas 2019.
The Berkeley Homes West Thames team organised The Southall Sleepout in February. More than 20 team members slept out in wet and windy weather, raising more than £11,000 for Hope for Southall Street Homeless.
Berkeley staff have continued to play an active role in our partnership with Crisis. 107 employees took part in the 2019 Square Mile Run, raising £24,000 for the charity. 43 staff volunteered their time over the Christmas break to support Crisis at Christmas, a monumental effort which reached over 5,000 homeless people across the country
St Joseph took part in the St Basils Big Birmingham Sleepout in November 2019, braving sub-zero temperatures and raising over £2,300.
Enabling young people to overcome barriers to work and kick-start their careers.
875young people reached this year
Helping young people develop the skills and capabilities they need to thrive.
1,429young people reached this year
Supporting young people to live happy, healthy lives.
1,890young people reached this year
The Berkeley Foundation is the working name of The Berkeley Charitable Foundation, a registered charity in England and Wales (Charity Number 1152596), a company registered in England and Wales (Registration Number 8548400).