DCLG study exposes poor plight of homeless young people

A Department for Communities and Local Government study has revealed homeless young people placed in accommodation by English councils are three times more likely to suffer from mental health problems than the average for their age group.

A survey for the report found a third of 16- and 17-year-olds accepted as statutory homeless by councils had current mental health problems, and 52% said they had experienced anxiety, depression or emotional difficulties. Despite the majority of respondents being placed in temporary supported accommodation, young homeless people were still less likely than the general population to have access to emotional support and help in a crisis. 

Not in education, employment or training

They were also found to be five times less likely to be in employment, education or training than the average for their age group. A far higher proportion of young respondents had experienced drug or alcohol problems than adults in families accepted as homeless, the report said. 

Balbir Chatrik, director of policy and communications at homeless charity Centrepoint, said the report had identified some of the major challenges facing 16- and 17-year-olds. She added: “There is no point in putting these young people in accommodation with no support. Eighty per cent are not in employment, education or training. They need practical help such as budgeting and CV writing as well as emotional support.”

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