45,000 young people in Britain affected by homelessness
Over 45,000 young people (18-24 year olds) presented themselves to councils as homeless or at risk of homelessness in the past year, an investigation by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.
The figures show that the real number of young people being affected by the homelessness crisis is far greater than shown by official government statistics.
Of the 45,752 who turned to councils to help over homelessness problems, 13,621 or just under one in three were then accepted by councils as statutorily homeless. Figures are based on responses to Freedom of Information requests from 238 of 380 local councils in England, Wales and Scotland, for the year to September 2017.
The areas with the highest numbers of young people turning to councils for help after becoming homeless or at risk of homelessness were Bradford (1828), Manchester (1297), Cornwall (1127), Nottingham (1091) and Telford and Wrekin (1051)
Scotland had four of the five top areas with the highest numbers of young people being declared statutorily homeless over the year, these were South Lanarkshire Council (424), Dundee City Council (424), Aberdeenshire (238).
In England, the areas with the highest numbers of young people being declared statutorily homeless were Manchester (420) Bristol (190), Southwark (150) Kirklees (141) and Wandsworth (134).
Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable commented:
“These figures reveal the hidden homelessness crisis affecting thousands of young people across the country.
“It is a national scandal that so many youngsters are struggling to find a permanent place to call home.
“Young people should be hopeful and looking to the future. Yet instead thousands will be spending this Christmas without a roof over their head, worrying about where they will sleep at night.
“The situation is being made worse by the Government’s heartless decision to strip young people of housing benefit.
“The government must reverse cuts to housing benefit for young people, invest more in preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place and build more genuinely affordable homes.”