The figure for homelessness among young people in the UK is eight times higher than Government admits, says a new report
Around 136,000 young people aged between 16 and 24 in England and Wales sought emergency housing in the past year according to analysis by the Centrepoint charity. However, only 16,000 were classified as “statutory homeless” meaning that councils had a legal duty to house them
The Independent reports:
Worryingly, some 30,000 of those seeking help were turned away with little if any support. And as many as 90,000 were only offered support such as family mediation, to help them stay at home, or debt advice. This means the vast majority of those going for help are not getting the full assistance they’d be entitled to if they were officially accepted as being homeless.
“The most alarming aspect to these findings is that it is very likely they are a significant underestimate – many of the local authorities where youth homelessness is most prevalent did not respond to our Freedom of Information requests,” said Gaia Marcus, who runs Centrepoint’s youth homelessness databank.
Failures to assess the majority of young people in need of help mean some of the most vulnerable could miss out on the help to which they could be legally entitled, leaving them at risk, campaigners warn.
Only 40 per cent of young people in England were given an assessment to determine their eligibility for emergency housing in 2014, while in Wales fewer than two-thirds (60 per cent) were assessed.
“A timely intervention in the lives of homeless young people enables them to achieve their potential in education, training or work. Unfortunately, too many young people are being failed at the first opportunity. It’s critical that central government provides sufficient funding to meet the true level of need,” said Ms Marcus.