26 November 2014

By Yasmine

The charity Homeless Link has determined that more needs to be done to combat homelessness in young people, after conducting a survey of more than 200 charity and council homeless services. Results showed that 52% of homeless people are aged 25 or under. The report, ‘Young and Homeless 2014’, shows that more than half of those people who approached councils and charity services for help in August 2014 were under 25. It says this suggests the scale of youth homelessness is higher than reflected in official figures published by the government.

40% of councils believe they do not have the tools they need to prevent youth homelessness, and homelessness was not prevented by councils in 8 in 10 cases where young people approached them for help. It is said that 6 in 10 young people are made homeless after relationships break down with family or friends or if family and friends can no longer accommodate them. Family intervention teams are mainly put in place when a young person doesn’t want to live in the family unit anymore, in hope to change the family’s relationship and make the young person want to stay.

The research suggests a shortage of suitable accommodation is forcing local authorities, such as councils and social services, to use other unsuitable options with 94% saying they have placed young people in bed & breakfasts before helping them find more long term accommodation. Finding accommodation for anyone is said to be hard for councils as many people have downsized since the bedroom tax took place in April 2013; now young people who are needing a place to live don’t have the opportunity of a one bedroom apartment. Many young people are told to stay at home or flat share.

Many pedestrians walk past homeless people and assume it is their own fault for living on the streets but many people don’t have a choice. Please give a thought to the homeless and hope they are safe and warm this Christmas.

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