Crisis highlights plight of young rough sleepers
Young people resort to desperate measures to avoid rough sleeping including minor crime and sex work, a Crisis study has found.
The charity for single homeless people released a research briefing yesterday looking at a range of data on single homelessness amongst people aged between 18 and 25. This included interviews with 72 young people between June 2010 and January 2011.
Young, Hidden and Homeless found 34 per cent of the young people had committed a minor crime, such as shoplifting or anti-social behaviour, in the hope of being taken into custody for the night and 17 per cent have avoided bail or committed an imprisonable offence so they will be taken into custody.
Eighteen per cent had tried to admit themselves to A&E and 11 per cent had entered into a sexual partnership to get a bed for the night. A quarter of young homeless women had engaged in sex work to fund accommodation or get a bed for the night.
Crisis is calling for better protection for young people with earlier intervention to prevent them becoming homeless.
The report states: ‘Homelessness is set to rise further as the continuing economic downturn combined with the coalition government’s radical reforms and weakening of the welfare state, particularly cuts to housing benefit, will leave many more people facing the threat or reality of homelessness.’
The analysis cites high youth unemployment rates and large numbers of young people asked to leave the family home by their parents as causes of youth homelessness.
It makes seven recommendations, including the government rethinking the housing benefit cuts in light of their impact on family breakdown and urgent action to support young people into developing skills and moving jobs.
Young persons’ homelessness charity Centrepoint estimates 8,000 young people experience homelessness in the UK every year.
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