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New service aims to reconnect families and prevent youth homelessness in Milton Keynes

Depaul UK, the national youth homelessness charity, has this week launched its Reconnect service. The service will this year offer support and mediation to more than 100 young people and families at crisis point in order to help them overcome conflict and ultimately prevent young people from spending a night on the streets.

The launch of Reconnect is the result of a partnership between Depaul, Milton Keynes Council and Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnership. The homelessness prevention programme is contracted by Milton Keynes Council and strengthens the Council’s efforts to end rough sleeping by the end of 2021, by tackling the root causes of homelessness and preventing a young person from having to ever sleep rough.

Reconnect will use a young person-focused approach to improve communication, mutual understanding and respect between young people and their families, thereby strengthening relationships.

When accessing Reconnect, young people and family members will receive support from a an accredited Mediator who will offer a number of individual and joint sessions to explore issues from each party’s point of view, and bring families together to reach an agreement on how they want to move forward in their relationship.

The ultimate aim will be to help young people stay in, or return to, the family home. When this is not appropriate or in the best interest of the young person, Depaul will help young people to rebuild the support networks that will be vital to successful independent living.

Reconnect aims to work with more than 100 families in its first year, increasing to 140 in 2022.

Depaul UK’s Danger Zones and Stepping Stones: Phase Two research found that more than half (55 percent) of young people first leave stable accommodation due to a breakdown in relationship with family or the people they live with.

Mike Thiedke, Depaul UK CEO said: “We are delighted to be launching this essential service in Milton Keynes. From our experience as a national charity working to end homelessness, we know that breakdown in relationships is the single biggest reason why young people become homeless. By dealing with the root cause, we can make sure that we relieve pressure on families so that they don’t have to reach breaking point.

He added: “Reconnect will play a crucial part in preventing hundreds of young people from ever becoming homeless and we look forward to working closely with the council and a range partners in order to end homelessness in Milton Keynes for good.”

Tracey McCillen, CEO Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnership said:

“On behalf of MKHP and our recognised partners, I am delighted to welcome Depaul to Milton Keynes as they deliver this important service. Having a specific and targetted service for young people to prevent them becoming homeless in the first place is an important intervention to help us all achieve our vision of ending homelessness in Milton Keynes.”

“I look forward to continuing to work with Depaul and Milton Keynes Council to connect the Reconnect service to existing Partner programmes. We are all working to establish a truly joined up approach to achieve better outcomes for those experiencing or who are at risk of homelessness across Milton Keynes.”

Cllr Hannah O’Neill, Cabinet Member responsible for Homelessness at Milton Keynes Council said: “We’re pleased to be launching this new service as part of our ongoing efforts to prevent young people in Milton Keynes from becoming homeless. We’re grateful for the collaborative efforts of local, regional and national partners on this.

“Young people in MK will now have access to specialist and targeted support, with a key focus on early intervention. Ending rough sleeping in MK is one of our biggest priorities and we want people to know that there is support available and nobody in MK needs to be on the streets.”

For more on Depaul UK, visit:


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