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Breaking the cycle of homelessness: The work of Centrepoint

Centrepoint has been at the forefront of the fight against youth homelessness since 1969.

As the UK’s foremost charity dedicated to tackling homelessness for those aged between 16 and 25, its primary goal is to eliminate the problem of young people sleeping rough or in unstable accommodation.

The dangers associated with youth homelessness are manifold, ranging from mental health challenges to dependency issues and long-term alienation from the rest of society.

Young people without a stable home find it difficult to secure meaningful employment, build relationships and establish settled adult lives.

Centrepoint sees its role as being to help establish stability and security in the lives of vulnerable young people. To achieve this, it delivers a range of services and programmes, which taken together provide a holistic approach to addressing the problem.

Now, the charity is embarking on its most ambitious programme yet which, if successful, could transform provision for homeless people of all ages.

Comprehensive support for homeless young people

Centrepoint provides comprehensive support to more than 9,000 young people annually, encompassing accommodation, health and well-being assistance, education, training, and employment prospects.

While its primary focus is on providing safe accommodation services to young people, which range from emergency housing to longer-term supported housing and independent living initiatives, they acknowledge that long-term success for homeless youth necessitates a broader range of support.

To ensure sustainable outcomes, Centrepoint offers access to healthcare, counselling, addiction support, and physical wellness opportunities like exercise classes and healthy eating workshops.

The organisation helps young people lay the groundwork for a prosperous life through education and training initiatives, in addition to employment support and mentoring.

Acknowledging that each individual has unique needs and challenges, Centrepoint puts the emphasis on delivering personalised and comprehensive assistance to every young person, which is essential to its mission.

A revolutionary new approach

At the heart of Centrepoint’s mission over the coming years is the Independent Living Programme.

This combines affordable, long-term accommodation with employment opportunities to give vulnerable young people an unrivalled opportunity to grow and establish independent lives.

By also providing employers with a pool of ambitious, supported young talent it’s hoped that the project will contain the seeds of its own future growth.

The Independent Living Programme’s principle is deceptively simple.

The charity is currently building 300 affordable housing units in London and Manchester that will be available to young people at a competitive rate.

With a focus on education, employment, and personal development, the programme empowers young people to take control of their lives and build a brighter future. This transformative approach has the potential to change the trajectory of countless young lives and provide a blueprint for addressing homelessness on a larger scale.

To be eligible for the programme, young people must first secure employment through the Centrepoint Work Scheme, which equips them with the necessary skills, training, and job support to achieve sustainable employment. Employers are enlisted to provide young people with a foothold on the employment ladder while receiving support to assist them in making the transition.

Once they have secured employment, they may apply for accommodation through the Independent Living Programme. This provides them with access to stable, long-term housing with rent that is capped at a third of their salary. For example, a young person with an average income of £18,000 per year will pay no more than £500 per month in rent.

This represents a substantial discount compared to the current market rent for new tenants in both London and Manchester. By offering affordable housing, coupled with support in finding sustainable employment, Centrepoint empowers young people and enables them to establish successful, independent lives.

Javad Marandi, the co-chair of the Centrepoint Growth Board, has been instrumental in setting the charity’s ambitious goal of providing 30,000 homes across the UK through its flagship Independent Living Programme.

Currently limited to London and Manchester, the programme has the potential to be scaled up and provide housing and employment opportunities for people of all ages who have faced homelessness or other challenges.

To achieve this goal, Centrepoint will require significant investment and sponsorship from corporate and other backers.

With Marandi’s leadership and expertise, the Growth Board is actively seeking partnerships with businesses and philanthropists who share the charity’s vision and commitment to ending homelessness in the UK.

By working together, Centrepoint and its partners can make a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of young people and create a blueprint for addressing homelessness on a national scale.

The vision and experience to deliver

Marandi’s pivotal role in developing the future of the charity underlines the seriousness of the charity’s commitment. Born in Tehran in 1968, he and his family moved to the UK in the years following the Iranian Revolution, studying electrical and electronic engineering at Cardiff University before beginning his career.

Today, he’s one of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs, investors and philanthropists and in 2017he founded The Marandi Foundation, with his wife Narmina.

This is dedicated to providing disadvantaged young people and communities in the UK with access to training and educational opportunities, as well as mental health and well-being support services.

As co-chair of the Centrepoint Growth Board, Marandi draws on his extensive experience in business and philanthropy to develop innovative solutions aimed at addressing this critical issue. His goal is to make a tangible impact on the lives of young people across the UK who are experiencing homelessness.

Marandi is also leading Centrepoint’s efforts to enhance its jobs, skills, and training division, Centrepoint Works, to complement the Independent Living Programme. With his extensive expertise and the backing of the Marandi Foundation, the capabilities of Centrepoint Works are being expanded to provide training and skills to more than 1,200 young people each year and to secure 200 jobs and apprenticeships.

A new digital platform and app will also be launched, offering support, prevention information, job opportunities, and direct interaction with ethical employers to up to 20,000 young people annually.

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