Yorkshire charities are warning that youth homelessness is hitting crisis point in our region due to government sanctions on benefits and financial help.
Welfare is reform leading to more homelessness: A survey of over 200 charities and council homeless agencies has uncovered results that the increased use of benefit sanctions is increasing the amount of young homeless people on our streets. Charities report that homelessness caused by financial problems due to benefit reductions has increased six fold (from 1.7% of cases in 2013 to 10% in 2014). Over 90% of providers report that benefit sanctions have affected the ability of young people to access accommodation. - See more at: http://www.homeless.org.uk/connect/news/2014/nov/19/missed-opportunity-to-prevent-youth-homelessness#sthash.OSxPu36i.dpuf
Experience of homelessness at a young age is proven to increase the risk of becoming homeless again and developing complex problems in later life. The report suggests work to prevent young people losing their home is simply not good enough in many areas:
Young and Homeless 2014 shows that more than half of those who approached councils and charity services for help in August 2014 were under 25. This suggests the scale of youth homelessness is higher than reflected in official figures: -
- The range of prevention methods used by some local authorities has improved. For example, 92% now carry out home visits which can help identify risks at an earlier stage.
- However, 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.
Young people are facing more complex problems: 58% of under 25s seeking help from councils and charities with homelessness have one or more other problem such as mental health, learning disability, substance misuse or offending behaviour. Half of agencies believe problems faced by young people have got worse. The range of complex problems faced by young people underline the need for effective support to help them leave homelessness behind. Nearly six in 10 (57%) of those seeking help are not in education, employment or training. Around a quarter report mental health or substance misuse problems. 13% of those seeking help were young offenders and 11% were care leavers.
If you would like to donate or help some of the regions homeless charities this christmas please visit http://simononthestreets.co.uk/ a great charity working in the centre of Leeds.