So important to help young people escape a rootless life

STEVE CANAVAN: Take note of why I love this country so much

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Being homeless is tough at any age. But how would you cope if you were just 16 and trying to survive on the streets with no support network?

Can any of us imagine what it must be like to have nowhere to call home and to end up all alone, not knowing from one day to the next where you’ll be sleeping?

It certainly puts into perspective the moans and groans of all those teenagers who just don’t realise how lucky they are to have a roof over their heads and the continuing love and financial support of their families.

Young people can end up homeless for a variety of reasons and it’s often not a situation of their own making.

To have someone to turn to is invaluable – and this is where the charity Step-by-Step comes in.

On pages 8 and 9 today, we report how it offers 16 to 25-year-olds across Havant, Fareham and Gosport not just a roof over their heads when they are desperate, but also equips them with the life skills needed to eventually live independently.

It’s not overstating the case to say that without Step-by-Step, young people could be condemned to a rootless existence, with no settled home and no prospect of contributing to society.

Rhian Carrington was just 18 when she became homeless after being asked to leave the family home in Emsworth.

But after an extremely depressing year of sleeping on sofas, she is now in supported accommodation and even had several job interviews last week – thanks to Step-by-Step.

The charity recognises its role is about much more than finding accommodation.

Young people also need help to equip them with vocational and life skills.

It’s about supporting them and helping them on to a different path where they can feel secure and have the opportunity of reaching their potential.

We applaud Step-by-Step for the important work it is doing and urge you to help ensure it continues by giving whatever you can afford to this worthy cause.