Fend for Yourself

A children’s charity have warned that teenagers are being let down by local councils as they are being left to ‘fend for themselves’.

With four out of the five 12,000 16 and 17 year-olds not getting the accommodation they asked the council for, it is becoming apparent that the youth of this country are becoming less and less valued. As well as this, many say that when they do get the accommodation they asked for, it is often unsafe – this leaves them feeling scared and vulnerable.

22 year-old youth mentor Liam Hill spoke of his experience of being homeless and said: “They put me in a cramped, cold room in a B&B that had no hot water, then in a hostel where people tried to sell me drugs all the time.” Hill became homeless at the age of 16 and added that he was ‘passed from pillar to post’ by his local council.

There is certainly a growing problem in the UK regarding the way we treat the homeless in general, not just the teens who are homeless. Teens becoming homeless can sprout from any reason ranging from problems at home where they have been kicked out and also being released from care homes and foster homes at aged 16 with no where to go. It then becomes a matter for councils to manage and young people are often given temporary accommodation that can last anywhere from two weeks to two months. This kind of instability in a 16 year-old’s life is not acceptable and it is in no way the best start to living an independent life.

However, a spokeswoman for the Local Government Association said that councils had faced budget cuts, which had made it more difficult to offer help.

“It is a tragedy when anyone becomes homeless, and councils are facing real difficulties in finding emergency care for all homeless people due to a shortage of housing, welfare reforms and 40% cuts to council budgets over the lifetime of this parliament.

“Councils are keen to play their part in this and could go further and faster to support the development of badly needed new homes if government gave councils greater financial flexibility.”