Local authorities failing to prevent youth homelessness

19 November 2014

New research published today by Homeless Link, found that 40% of councils believe they do not have the tools they need to prevent youth homelessness, with statistics showing that homelessness was not prevented in 8 in 10 cases where young people approached the council for help.

In the report, Young and Homeless, published by the national body for homeless organisations, 52% of those seeking help with homelessness were found to be under 25 and there appears to be a shortage of suitable accommodation, with 94% of councils saying that they have placed young people in bed & breakfasts.

The report calls for mediation, advice and support services to be made available in every local authority area to families and young people at risk of homelessness, in order to try and increase the success of prevention strategies.

Denise Hatton, chief executive of YMCA England, says:

“It is disappointing to see the number of councils who feel that they are not equipped to prevent youth homelessness. The majority of young people become homeless after their families are no longer able to accommodate them or due to relationship breakdown, and if more was done to tackle these problems at the outset, then councils could significantly reduce the number of young people facing the uncertainty of sofa surfing or nights on the streets.

With proper support and intervention at the right time, such as counselling or mediation which YMCAs provide, we see first-hand how it is possible to address the problems which are making home life difficult. By the time a relationship has broken down, and a young person has dealt with the harsh realities of being homeless, then it can take a lot more time and resource to rebuild their lives, confidence and relationships with family members.

Homeless Link’s research emphasises how the effect of being homeless at an early age, increase the risk of becoming homeless again or developing complex problems in later life. It is vital that more is done to prevent young people from facing homelessness in the first place.”

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