Crisis calls for better protection for young people
Young, Hidden and Homeless explores the experiences and circumstances of young single homeless people aged 18-25 against a backdrop of rising homelessness and record high youth unemployment.
The analysis is released on the day a BBC Three documentary examines the experiences of four young homeless people.
The report comes against a background of rising homelessness, including youth homelessness. Across all ages group, 107,060 households approached their council as homeless in 2011 - a 10% increase on the previous year. Rough sleeping rose 23% in England last year. Outreach agencies report 7% of rough sleepers in London are aged under 25.
The new analysis reveals that the biggest cause of homelessness for young people is being told to leave the family home by their parents. Other common causes are leaving care and being unable to pay rent.
Key points from the report:
- Young homeless people often do not get the help they need from local authorities or formal support services. Instead, they get by in hidden homelessness situations such as rough sleeping and squatting.
- Young homeless people are considerably more vulnerable than the overall homeless population. For example, 51% have been excluded from school, 40% have experienced abuse at home and 33% self harm.
- 30% have been in care, suggesting that the care system is not offering them the support they need.
- Young homeless people go to desperate measures to avoid sleeping rough, including committing a crime or resorting to sex work just to get a roof over their head.
- Urgent action and early intervention is needed to prevent young homeless people developing higher needs and falling into long term homelessness.
Independent research for Crisis predicts that the situation is only going to get worse. Youth unemployment, currently at 23%, the highest since records began, combined with cuts to housing benefit will mean many more young people are left facing homelessness.
Too many young single homeless people currently approach their local authority for help and are turned away with nowhere to go and little option but to sleep rough. In light of these findings, Crisis has highlighted its No One Turned Away campaign which is calling for a change in the law to ensure all homeless people get the help they need.
Crisis is also calling on the government to rethink its damaging cuts to housing benefit, particularly moving 25-34 year-olds onto the much lower Shared Accommodation Rate.