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Benefit cut for under-25s risks damaging future prospects of disadvantaged young
News reports of the Conservative Party conference recently have reported a number of ideas for cutting the welfare bill by a further £10 billion after the next Parliament - including limiting housing benefit for the under-25s.
Responding to the reports, Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of the umbrella body Homeless Link, said:
“Our young people face rising rents and high levels of unemployment. Homelessness amongst the under-25s has also increased – often driven by relationship breakdowns in families.
“This idea, if it comes to pass, will do little to help young people with no family home or no option but to move out. Nor will it help those who have to claim housing benefit because they are in low paid jobs and face high rents. In fact it could have a devastating effect on youth homelessness.
“We need to be realistic about family life and ensure that ideas to save money today, do not risk damaging the prospects of young people with no family to fall back on. We should instead be investing in their futures.”
Last December, Homeless Link published ‘Young and Homeless’ the first research indicating that youth homelessness was on the rise.
The report makes a number of recommendations to help prevent youth homelessness and reduce the impact that it has. These include:
Ensuring that changes planned by Government to the welfare system do not cause higher youth homelessness;
Protecting cost effective advice and prevention services, such as family mediation, from local authority cuts;
Protect the Supporting People funding which pays for housing related support
Finding alternatives to B&Bs to provide accommodation for young people such as Nightstops;
Making it easier for young people to rent private sector housing and make sure they don’t get squeezed out by rising rent costs and increased demand for housing;
Ensuring that local authority housing and social services’ departments work better together to meet their legal requirements to 16 and 17 year olds; and
Providing better access to education, training and employment for young people who find themselves homeless.