William Eichler 16 April 2018

Benefit reforms a driver of youth homelessness, charity says

Benefit reforms a driver of youth homelessness, charity says image

Welfare reforms are contributing to homelessness among young people aged 16 to 24, charity warns.

New research from the charity Homeless Link’s found changes to welfare benefit entitlements are making it more difficult for young people to access housing.

The charity’s survey of councils, youth homelessness services, and homeless youths found 92% of respondents identified delayed Universal Credit payments as having an impact on youth homelessness.

Around 90% and 80% respectively also reported that sanctions and the capping of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) are also having an effect.

Homeless Link’s Young & Homeless 2018 report found that family breakdown remains the main cause of homelessness among young people, making up nearly half of cases (49%), but also warned ‘structural factors’ such as welfare reforms and a lack of affordable housing are ‘significant contributory factors.’

Over the past year, 55% of homelessness agencies recorded an increase in demand for their services, with over a quarter (28%) of people accessing services aged only 16 or 17.

The support needs of 16 to 24s are becoming more complex, the charity’s research discovered, with 82% of services identifying an increase in those with multiple and complex needs over this period.

The top three support needs of the young people surveyed were not being in education employment or training (44%), a lack of independent living skills (41%) and mental health problems (35%).

About 37% of respondents stated that the range of services available to prevent youth homelessness was ‘inadequate.’

Homeless Link's chief executive, Rick Henderson, commented: ‘The picture of youth homelessness is extremely concerning, and there is clear evidence that systemic issues such as welfare reform and the housing crisis are worsening the situation.

‘While youth homelessness charities and councils are working hard to successfully support many young people away from homelessness, more needs to be done. It is vital that we focus on preventing homelessness among vulnerable young people, and that those who do become homeless are able to get the support they need.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of Looked After Children and Vulnerable Young People

Enfield London Borough Council
Up to £89,319
 This is an exciting opportunity to lead all the services that support Enfield’s children in care and care leavers. Enfield (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Enfield London Borough Council

Head of Communities

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
to £61,751 (pay award pending)
We are looking for an innovative and knowledgeable senior professional to join our leadership team with strong experience of working in communities... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Economic Development Officer (Town Centres)

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878 per annum
The Economic Development Officer (Town Centres) post forms part of the Council’s Business Focus team who provide help directly to businesses. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Educational Psychologist

Camden London Borough Council
£44,131 - £53,34
The ideal candidates will have an excellent understanding of psychological frameworks and their application in... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Economic Development Officer

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878
Are you interested in a challenge and want to help shape the future of North West Leicestershire? Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue