FRONT / OPINION
Better shelter Emergency housing for homeless young people must be better designed, explain three UK architects who have developed new guidelines
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YOUTH HOMELESSNESS IS a complex problem, and one that has been exacerbated by the pandemic: 2020 saw a rise of almost 50% in the number of 16 to 25-year-olds sleeping rough in London, for example, compared to 2019.
Emergency accommodation currently on offer to young people is substandard, often in poorly converted buildings, and frequently with no privacy, security or space for social support. Purposebuilt emergency shelters for young people are barely in existence at all.
And, as it stands in the UK, no design guidelines exist around this area of housing provision, beyond those that prevent fires and the formation of slums. This is despite design guidelines for traditional housing being dutifully updated by industry bodies year upon year. What this means is that any charity or local authority working to get emergency accommodation up and running for the rising number of homeless young people, comes up against a complex system. To action change is a costly, uphill struggle. As a result, emergency housing continues to be part of the problem when it comes to youth homelessness, and not part of a solution. As architects working for different iconeye.com