Youth homelessness jumps by 15%
9 Jun 2011
New statistics released today show that the number of homeless young people in England has risen by 15 per cent - the largest year-on-year increase since comparable records began.
Centrepoint is extremely concerned by the rise, which comes at a time of squeezed living standards, high youth unemployment and pressure on family finances following the recession.
The number of homeless households headed by 16-24 year olds accepted as homeless by local authorities rose to 4,060 in January to March 2011, up from 3,540 in the same period last year.
However, the statistics only take into account statutory homelessness, which refers to those households that local authorities have accepted as being in ‘priority need’. This means the actual increase could be far greater. Recent research estimated that 78,000-80,000 young people experience homelessness every year.
"We urge central and local government to work with private and social landlords to ensure that young people have access to decent housing they can afford to avoid these numbers rising further"
Centrepoint Chief Executive Seyi Obakin
Priority need groups include young parents, those aged 16-17 or care leavers aged 18-20.
The total number of homeless households of any age rose 18 per cent compared to the previous year to 11,350, up from 9,590. 16-24 year olds accounted for 36 per cent of the total.
This significant increase in youth homelessness shows the need for increased investment in supported housing, but local authorities are cutting these budgets by an average of 13 per cent according to recent research by Homeless Link.
Centrepoint is now calling for the government to ensure that each local authority recognises the importance of providing specialist support services for homeless young people and those at risk of homelessness.
In order to address youth homelessness in the long-term, it is vital to ensure that young people have access to affordable long-term housing options.
Centrepoint Chief Executive Seyi Obakin said: 'Centrepoint fears that cuts to the social housing budget and housing benefit for private rented sector tenants may make it harder for young people to access suitable housing in the future.
'We therefore urge central and local government to work with private and social landlords to ensure that young people have access to decent housing they can afford to avoid these numbers rising further.'
Read the government’s full report HERE.