Lack of emergency accommodation putting young homeless at risk
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
homelessnessImage: Homelessness via Shutterstock
A homelessness charity has warned that a lack of age-appropriate emergency accommodation is putting vulnerable young people at risk.
Responding to Homeless Link's recent report - 'Young and Homeless 2013' - which revealed a lack of youth-specific emergency accommodation in England, Martin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of homelessness charity Depaul UK, said: “Given the existence of home-based solutions such as Nightstop, it’s wholly unsatisfactory that there is a lack of fully supported, age-appropriate emergency provision to meet the needs of young homeless people.
"This group is already extremely vulnerable and it is vital they are provided with accommodation which is safe, not placed with adults, or in unsuitable bed & breakfast accommodation."
Depaul's Nightstop scheme provides young people with safe and supportive emergency overnight accommodation, with meals, in the homes of vetted and trained volunteer hosts for one or two nights and occasionally for up to six weeks.
As well as receiving help to address the reasons they became homeless, the young person is also helped to return home or move on to appropriate longer term accommodation.
Mr Houghton-Brown continued: "We are working successfully with some local authorities providing Nightstop as the emergency component of their housing pathways and also offering family mediation to help hundreds of young people return home to their families if this is a safe option.
"An effective emergency response to youth homelessness can give young people the support they need at a critical juncture, addressing situations before they become even more severe and helping to prevent further crises. We support Homeless Link’s recommendation for more emergency accommodation to be made available to young people and, more specifically urge local authorities to include a Nightstop as the emergency housing element of their pathways.”
Depaul provides over 125,000 bednights a year to homeless and vulnerable young people across the country, and has helped more than 50,000 people since it was founded in 1989.