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Homelessness is not just in Scotland’s cities. It’s everywhere.

And it hits all ages, including young people.

Read this guest blog from Colin Waters from the Scottish Charity Cyrenians. They’ve published their latest impact report, giving powerful insight into what can be behind homelessness, as well as giving us the latest statistics for youth homelessness in Moray.


Cyrenians CEO Ewan Aitken said it best when he commented, at the launch of our report Transforming Conflict, Improving Lives: 7 Year Impact Report and 2022 National Survey, ‘If we have a choice in this country it’s that we can get really good at managing crises or we can try to solve the problems underlying them.’

‘We tackle the causes and consequences of homelessness,’ Cyrenians’ tagline runs, and as one of the services Cyrenians runs, it’s at the core of what we do as the Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR).

SCCR’s particular mission is to reduce youth homelessness in Scotland. Some 5,000 young people present as homeless each year in Scotland, which is the equivalent of five high school’s worth of young people without a place to call home.

In Moray, for example, according to the Scottish Government’s 2021-2 statistics on youth homelessness (the most recent set of figures) 507 people of all ages presented as homeless, an increase of 52 on the previous year. Of that total, 114 were young people, which is approaching a quarter of all cases (23 percent of all homelessness applicants in Scotland are made up of youth homeless applicants). Youth homelessness per 1,000 head of population for Moray in 2021-2 came to 9.9 (the average for Scotland is 11.9).

Moray is in a better place compared to a decade earlier, when 215 young people informed their local authority they were homeless, but it’s still too many.

To end youth homelessness, we work in all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities to combat its leading cause: relationship breakdown. We use psychoeducational resources we’ve developed as well as workshops, online and in-person at schools, youth groups or open events, that share advice on how to improve relationships with our three chief audiences: young people, parents / carers, and professionals who work with families in conflict.

Our work is informed by the latest thinking on the science of conflict; if we look at why people react in the way they do from a scientific perspective, if we can look at what is happening in the mind when an argument breaks out, it can avoid blaming, shaming and other negative emotions that can upend attempts at mediation. As our CEO suggests, we try to get ahead of the curve, helping families solve their own issues before things get to the point where a young person feels they have no choice but to leave.

Our report, published last week, details the work that we’ve completed over the past seven years to end the scourge of youth homelessness. It includes the results of a recent national survey, where we discovered some 19 percent – one in five – of the young people who took part think about leaving home at least once a month. The report finishes by detailing the work we will undertake in the future to improve relationships and reduce the level of youth homelessness in Scotland.

If you are based in Moray and have a presence in schools or with a youth group; if you work with parents and carers who want to strengthen their relationships; if you’re interested in mental health, conflict resolution, mediation and early intervention – contact us. We are funded by the Scottish government to take our work across Scotland and provide resources and workshops free or for a modest fee. Get in touch to learn more.

To see a copy online of Transforming Conflict: Improving Lives and to find out more about Cyrenians Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution, click here.

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