Double Troubled-Young People Struggling to Cope with the Conjoined Status of Neet-Youth Homelessness in Times of Austerity

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:50 PM
Room: F205
Distributed Paper
Robert GONOUYA , Cities Institute, RC34 Member, London, United Kingdom
Despite the established body of work in sociology illustrating the diversity of youth experiences, there are gaps in understanding the challenges faced by young people whose lives are framed by the duality of NEET-Youth homelessness, particularly in times of economic austerity. As such, the NEET youth homelessness conceptual framework developed in the mixed method study conducted in Essex, Kent and London and reported here, allows for a particular and more nuanced understanding of the nature of this onerous status, including the coping strategies and or tactics of those affected. This encompasses associated aspects such as their attitudes to work, the welfare state, family and training.

One of the central tenets of the NEET-youth homelessness framework presented herein is that irrespective of the importance of micro –level factors and personal preferences in shaping young people’s lives, individual situations can only be fully understood by drawing on perspectives which also recognise the impact of broader social change and its role in structuring opportunities and choices available to young people (Russell, et al, 2011).

Importantly, the NEET-Youth homelessness conceptual framework introduced in this paper, marks a shift from the hitherto, dominant ‘silo approach’ to understanding both NEETism and youth homelessness separately, despite their acknowledged links (Smith, J. and Ravenhill, M. (2006);Quilgars et al, 2008; Jones, 2009;). This paper posits that those afflicted by the conjoined status are doubly troubled as they not only struggle to cope with the challenges of living in austere times whilst yoked by external influences such as welfare state access conditionality, but also experience debilitating social exclusion linked to their severely compromised personal capacities and turbulent, liminal adulthoods.