By Rooney John
This Christmas around 90,000 children and teenagers will be homeless, according to homeless charity Shelter. While few will be on the streets many will be spending the festive season in B&B establishments and other temporary accommodation.
A report by Homeless Link said, local authorities could be doing more to prevent these youngsters from becoming homeless in the first place, with councils preventing homelessness amongst young people in just 19% of cases. While family mediation can be effective in supporting young people to stay at home, yet nearly a quarter of councils still do not offer this service.
Homeless charity Shelter says the only solution is to build more homes, while Homeless Link says rather than send them children to B&Bs councils need to make more effort to keep young people at home, or offer more suitable temporary accommodation.
Kris Hopkins, the Conservative Minister for Homelessness, told The Independent recently: “The numbers of people sleeping rough are falling dramatically, in no small part thanks to the range of measures we’ve taken to maintain strong support for anyone facing the threat of homelessness. That includes £500 million funding to councils and charities, and extending the No Second Night Out with the clear aim that no-one should spend no more than one night on our streets.”
Lewisham resident Kevin Young, 37 years old and unemployed said, “I have experienced homelessness myself. I was a resident in a St Mungo’s hostel for 18 months before being moved to a B&B”. He said that, “Young people shouldn’t have the burden and stress of being homeless. They should be in a stable family environment and either at school or in Further Education.” He also thought that the government isn’t doing enough to tackle the problem.
Greenwich resident Claudia, age 22, who works at The Deptford Lounge, was very passionate about the problem and thought the government needs to do more, adding “I think it is an appalling situation for youngsters to be in. It is a prime example of an unfair distribution of wealth. There should be more food drives and warm places for these vulnerable youngsters to stay. Especially so, as this winter is expected to be one of the coldest in the last 100 years.”
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We’re working to build a bigger, better private rented sector. By boosting supply, through a £1 billion Build to Rent fund which will deliver up to 10,000 new homes for rent”
A government spokesperson also said: “In addition to the £1 billion Build to Rent fund the government is offering up to £10 billion in housing guarantees which are already starting to attract institutional investment in the sector.”