The increasing impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the financial wellbeing of young people was highlighted today as joint research by The Co-operative Bank and Centrepoint showed the scale of job and financial insecurity amongst those aged 16-24. This research expands on recent data that showed young people were the most likely to have lost their job during the pandemic period.
Young people facing increased risk of homelessness
The new research shows that a quarter (26%) of those aged 16-24 (1.8 million people) were concerned that if they lost their income, they could be made homeless, whilst a third (33%) of young people think they could be without a safe place to live if they did not receive additional support. With figures from Centrepoint showing that more than three quarters of council respondents (78%) across England had seen an increase in homelessness in their area since the start of the pandemic, the new research indicates that this figure may rise as the impact of Covid-19 increases levels of financial insecurity among young people.
Few young people feel their income is secure
Only a quarter (24%) of young workers feel their job is safe, with a similar proportion having already seen a cut in hours (16%) or pay (11%). Three in ten young people said they expect to see a drop in income due to the pandemic. Worryingly, about a third (32%) of respondents said they would only be able to meet their financial responsibilities for just one month or less before having to reply on support services. Overall, two thirds (67%) of young people would eventually need to rely on support services to meet their financial obligations if they lost their main source of income.
As well as young people who felt their own jobs were in jeopardy, the research also found significant levels of income uncertainty among the support network that young people rely on for support. More than one in five (22%) are reliant on others with an insecure job, such as their parents (17%) or partner (5%). Overall, around a third (30%) of young people feel their current living situation is insecure.
End of furlough scheme could heighten pressures
A quarter (25%) of 16 to 24-year olds in work have been furloughed as a result of Covid-19. However, fewer than two in five (38%) on furlough think their job will be eligible for the new Job Support Scheme once it is rolled out with almost a third (29%) believing it will not to be eligible and 34% unsure.
Seyi Obakin, Chief Executive, Centrepoint, comments: “While the uncertainty and disruption of the past six months has impacted everyone in some way, this research clearly indicates the severe effect it has had on young people. As we move into the winter months, and as the Government furlough scheme winds down, the risk of a dramatic increase in youth homelessness is very real, exacerbated by the existing financial and employment insecurity of young people.
“For the last 15 years, we’ve asked our supporters to Sleep Out to help us end youth homelessness. As our Sleep Out events aren’t possible this year due to the Coronavirus guidelines, on 8th October, we’re challenging people to STAY:UP all night to help us to raise awareness of homelessness affecting young people.”
Darrell Evans, Managing Director, Retail Banking, The Co-operative Bank, comments: “Young people are often more financially exposed at times of national crisis and our research highlights the severe difficulties they are facing across the UK as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic puts pressure on jobs and financial security. As a long-term partner of Centrepoint we are committed to doing everything we can to draw attention to the issues facing vulnerable young people, whilst ensuring they continue to have access to the lifesaving support and services provided by Centrepoint at a time when it is needed the most.
“As one of the lead sponsors of Centrepoint’s flagship fundraising event, STAY:UP we are proud to continue our support of this vital charity, particularly at a time when more young people face unprecedented pressures on their livelihoods. As we approach an extremely uncertain winter period it’s for all of us to work co-operatively together to support our most vulnerable in society and tackle homelessness once and for all.”