Treat drop in young people seeking help for homelessness with caution, urges think tank
Sofa-surfing and post-code lottery in quality of support both factors
The decline in young people (16-24) seeking support from councils for homelessness, does not account for those who don’t go to local housing services for help.
Statistics published today (Tuesday 17.9.19) show a 29% decrease since 2012/13. 25 per cent of households looking for support were 16 – 24 years old.
Research by the think tank has previously found that young people go to their local authority once “they have exhausted every friend,” often relying on informal support, such as sofa-surfing.
Commenting on the Office for National Statistics report on UK homelessness from 2005-2018, Imogen Farhan, co-author of Reform’s youth homelessness research, said:
“The drop in young people seeking help for homelessness should be treated with caution. Reform research found that young people in crisis tend to look for a friend with a spare sofa rather than their local council’s housing service.
“There is also a post-code lottery in the ability of local services, such as A&E departments and Jobcentre Plus, to accurately refer young people they encounter who are at risk of homelessness to local housing services.
“These cracks are too big to be papered over. Homelessness prevention need sustainable funding – not more inefficient, short-term pots of cash.”
Covered by the Independent.