Young homeless people are our future, expensive, problems in waiting
Break the cycle
This week Homeless Link published Young and homeless - research that indicates that youth homelessness is on the rise and many services are struggling to cope.
For months we have been hearing from our members about an increasing number of 16 to 24-year-olds turning up for help. Our survey of charity and council homelessness services seems to confirm that this trend is being seen across England.
Just under half of charities and councils reported a rise in young people seeking help because they were, or risked becoming, homeless.
We also looked at how council and charity services were responding to this increased demand. The findings flagged issues that should concern us all.
Under the law, 16 to 17-year-olds presenting to council housing services for help should be referred to children’s services for an assessment. However, almost one in five council housing services we asked thought this system was not working effectively.
Despite it being unsuitable for young people, 90 per cent of councils also reported having to use B&Bs as emergency accommodation for them.
With more welfare changes in the pipeline, youth homelessness could continue to increase. We need to work together to protect the core services developed in recent years and put in place the right accommodation and support for young people who find themselves without a home.
I urge professionals to read our recommendations. The longer someone doesn’t have a home, the more likely they are to develop complex problems and become trapped into a cycle of homelessness. If we don’t provide the right advice, help and support now, we are potentially looking at a much bigger, and more expensive, problem in the future.
Alice Evans is head of policy at Homeless Link