Stepping up action to prevent youth homelessness Essay

Homelessness is a very serious issue for any country. In country as developed and progressed as United Kingdom, the level of homelessness is very high. This research aims at understanding the various kinds of homelessness and also the levels of homelessness in the country. Also focus has been placed on the youth homelessness in the country which is relatively at quite high levels. This research deals with understanding the meaning of the various types of homelessness. Also a through research of the statistics of homelessness has also been discussed. Also the various reasons for the homeless has also been discussed along with the steps that have been taken by the government to prevent homelessness and mainly youth homelessness.

Homelessness:

According to the ‘Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities – ODPM 2002’, ‘Someone is statutorily homeless if they do not have accommodation that they have a legal right to occupy, which is accessible and physically available to them (and their household) and which it would be reasonable for them to continue to live in. It would not be reasonable for someone to continue to live in their home, for example, if that was likely to lead to violence against them (or a member of their family)’ (Tameside, 2006). Homelessness can be classified into four major groups:

Officially recognized: This group of households are people who apply for to the authorities to be classified as homeless. These people might be legally homeless however for them to be recognized as homeless it is important that they apply to the state to be classified as such.

Legally Homeless: a household without an accommodation entitled to them for occupation, or even if they have an occupation but cannot afford to occupy the accommodation will fall into the legally homeless category.

Statutory Homeless: Most households which are required to receive housing facilities. These households are eligible for assistance from the authorities and are homeless unintentionally. Also these households fall into the priority needs groups.

Hidden Homeless: In this category of households, the household may or may not have applied to the local authorities but still are in a homeless status and are not entitled to any accommodation.

However, it is essential to understand the difference between homelessness and rough sleeping. Rough sleepers classify as homeless and meet all the criteria for homelessnes as per the legal definition. However homelessness is much wider than the rough sleeping. Rough sleepers do not have a shelter or adequate accommodation.

Homelessness Statistics:

There have been a number of households that have been homeless. Between 2008 October and December 2008, the number of people who fell under the homeless category was reduced by almost 21 as compared to the same period of 2007. The number of acceptances for homelessness was at the highest levels during 2003 – 2004 (see Figure 1). There has been a drastic drop of almost 62 over the years until 2008.

Figure 1: Official number of people recognised to be homeless in England over the years (Homelessness, 2009)


It has also been noted that the temporary accommodation as on 31st December 2008, was reduced by almost 15 when compared to 31st December 2007 (Communities, 2009). The temporary accommodation in the country has however fallen over the thirteen consecutive quarters and has reduced by almost one third that the peak period of 2004. The statistics also show that almost 88 of the households in temporary accommodation were in self contained accommodations. Also post the 2004 rise in the homelessness and post the introduction of the Order 2003, (Suitability of accommodation (England)) which has come into force, the authorities have needed to stop placing people in Bed and Breakfast accommodations for period that are longer than six weeks (Communities, 2009).

Also as per the National Rough Sleeping Estimate of 2008, the reports show that almost 483 people have been recorded to be sleeping on the streets of England on almost every single night. This however has been a reduced by almost 74 from the total number of people sleeping on the roads during 1998. There are constant efforts being made by the government to end the rough sleeping in the country by 2012 (Communities, 2009).

Figure 2: Rough Sleeping In England (Homeless LINK – Rough Sleeping, 2007)


The Youth Homelessness and the information of ‘The National Youth Homelessness Scheme’ were launched on 18th October 2007. On children’s day 14 November 2006, the government had taken a number of steps to ensure that the youth homelessness be completely eradicated by 2010. Young people generally refer to people between the ages of 16 – 25 years. The government made use of the bed and breakfast to accommodate the local homeless youth and ensures that the 16 and 17 year olds were placed in secure bed and breakfasts across the country. The government has also improved the access to the homelessness mediation across the country. This also included a number of parents of the young people, which provided for a general expectation of the services. The government has also provided for a number of facilities for the young people who cannot live with their family any longer with a number of lodging developments schemes which also include accommodation, advice and also mediation services.

In other attempts to try and ensure that the youth are prevented from homelessness, the local government and communities have commissioned YMCA England and Centre point to develop new online knowledge base of the good practices. There have also been a number of contributions to the site from the key service providers and agencies. The knowledge base as mentioned covers a number of areas like health, education and also provides for valuable information for the working strategies and training as well.

All the statistics are based on the number of people who have contacted the services for help. In the year 2006 – 2007, almost 75,000 young people have been noted to have experienced homelessness in the United Kingdom. The breakup of the people using the services included almost 43, 075 people between the age of 16 – 24 who accepted statutory homelessness and almost 31,000 who were on non – statutorily homeless young people (Quilgars, Johnsen & Pleace, 2008). However it has been noted in the various researches that the number of people who faced rough sleeping nights was very low and in a few of the case of the young people were faced to experience short periods of rough sleeping until they found secure temporary accommodations. The country has shown a decrease in the number of young homeless has fallen to a great extent over the years. Places like England and Wales has shown a marked improvement however, Scotland and Northern Ireland has still been faced with high numbers of young homeless (Quilgars, Johnsen & Pleace, 2008). The annual rate of young people as has been noted:

Table 1: Annual Rate of Homeless Young people (16 – 24 years) (Quilgars, Johnsen & Pleace, 2008)

Reasons for Homelessness:

There are numerous reasons for homelessness. A research that has been conducted in the second quarter of 2006, showed the following reasons to be the underlying causes.

Table 1: Reasons for Homelessness (Homeless LINK, 2006)

There have been a number of reasons which have also been recognised as prospective reasons for the household or individuals becoming homeless. These do not fall into the ‘personal’ factors but generally are found to fall in the ‘structural’ factors. This is a much wider problem and is one of the biggest risks for homelessness. These factors include:

Unemployment

Low Incomes

Debt

Shortage of affordable accommodation

Welfare benefits system

Migration like, economic migrants from accession states (Homeless Link – Facts, 2006).

The Centre point’s youth homelessness Index has recognized eight potential risk factors that cause the youth to be homeless. These factors might also influence the young people to be vulnerable to be homelessness or directly push them to become homeless. These factors include:

unemployment and socioeconomic marginalization;

experience of/leaving local authority care;

family disruption in childhood, especially after age 3;

experience of living with a step parent, particularly for young men;

experience of parental neglect, abuse or violence;

strained relationships and relationship breakdown with parents and step-parents;

reliance on insecure accommodation settings, such as staying with friends or relatives;

Being asked to leave or being thrown out of the parental home (Homeless Link – Young People, 2008).

Possible Solution for Youth Homelessness:

The Housing Minister Yvette Cooper has noticed that the major reason for the youth homelessness is mainly because the young people are forced to leave their family and are left with no option but to live with friends or relatives. In a major speech to Centrepoint, Yvette Cooper said; “Young people being forced to leave the family home has become one of the biggest causes of homelessness” (Communities and Local Government, 2007). He also mentioned that the moving out of the family homes was leading the children to not have a permanent place to stay which was also impacting the life chances and making them reach out for the support services. He also mentioned that the young people who face homelessness at early ages will also face severe consequences which might even haunt them for the rest of their lives. This was a few of the major reasons that the government has made the youth homelessness a priority issue to be sorted out. This would include providing bed and breakfast accommodation. He also said, “This new partnership with the voluntary sector will help young people move away from the damaging cycle of homelessness through schemes like supported lodgings, giving them the stability and support they need to move back to a settled home” (Communities and Local Government, 2007).

As learnt from the various cases the government has set out three main possibilities for the prevention of homelessness as a whole for everyone in the country. These include:

Early Intervention: This is a process of identifying children at risk. This also includes a greater role for housing providers who would also focus on supporting family networks.

Addressing Homelessness: The local authorities provide for emergency accommodation in every place. This also reduces the need for bed and Breakfast and provides each young person with a case manager. There is a good team which includes well recruited quality staff and more formal move – on arrangements.

Monitoring and research: This would mean that newer researches are conducted and a number of enquiries are conducted to gain a complete knowledge of the rough sleeping patterns. Also more number of researches on the high BME homeless levels in London and also the non statutory homelessness can be done.

Conclusions:

Based on the research that has been conducted it is clear that the youth homelessness is a very strong and major issue that has been growing in the country. However the government has identified this as an issue and is constantly taking a number of steps to ensure that this is curbed at the roots. It is clear that individuals who face homelessness can be scared for life and especially children. The government to a great extent are concerned to ensure that the young people have a safe and well balanced life ahead. Thus they try and ensure that the there are several emergency measures to be taken as well as good housing availability for the young people at all times.

Bibliography

Communities and Local Government, 2007, ‘Stepping up action to prevent youth homelessness’, 7th March 2007, Accessed on 20th May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/steppingupaction

Communities, 2009, ‘Homelessness’, Accessed on 18th May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/homelessness/

Homeless LINK – Facts, 2006, ‘At risk of homelessness’, 14th November 2006, Accessed on 21st May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.homeless.org.uk/policyandinfo/facts/riskhomeless

Homeless LINK – Rough Sleeping, 2007, ‘Rough Sleeping Portal’, Accessed on 23rd May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.homeless.org.uk/policyandinfo/issues/rsportal

Homeless LINK – Young People, 2008, ‘Young People’, Accessed on 23rd May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.homeless.org.uk/policyandinfo/issues/groups/youngpeople

Homeless LINK, 2006, ‘Causes for homelessness’, 14th November 2006, Accessed on 21st May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.homeless.org.uk/policyandinfo/facts/causes

Homelessness, 2009, ‘England Trends over time’, 1st April 2009, Accessed on 20th May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.crisis.org.uk/policywatch/pages/england_trends_over_time.html

Quilgars, D., Johnsen, S. & Pleace, N., 2008, ‘Youth Homelessness in the UK’, May 2008, Accessed on 22nd May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/files/jrf/2221.pdf

Tameside, 2006, ‘Tameside Homelessness Strategy’, 19th October 2006, Accessed on 23rd May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.tameside.gov.uk/homeless/strategy

Annotated Bibliography

Communities and Local Government, 2007, ‘Stepping up action to prevent youth homelessness’, 7th March 2007, Accessed on 20th May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/steppingupaction

This mainly deals with the actions that the government has been taking to ensure that the youth homelessness is reduced. An inclusion of the Housing minister’s views on the current problem has also been included in this report.

Communities, 2009, ‘Homelessness’, Accessed on 18th May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/homelessness/

This article includes the key facts of the current situation of homelessness. This article has also provided for complete details and statistics of the homelessness in the United Kingdom.

Homeless LINK – Facts, 2006, ‘At risk of homelessness’, 14th November 2006, Accessed on 21st May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.homeless.org.uk/policyandinfo/facts/riskhomeless

This article provides for a clear understanding of major reasons why children and young people end up needing the services and why they end up becoming homeless.

Homeless LINK – Rough Sleeping, 2007, ‘Rough Sleeping Portal’, Accessed on 23rd May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.homeless.org.uk/policyandinfo/issues/rsportal

This article has dealt with a major issue of rough sleeping. This includes a few of the statistics of the number of rough sleepers.

Homeless LINK – Young People, 2008, ‘Young People’, Accessed on 23rd May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.homeless.org.uk/policyandinfo/issues/groups/youngpeople

This article deals and covers number of issues and details of youth homelessness. This provides for a clear view of the statistics, the issues and also the possible solutions

Homeless LINK, 2006, ‘Causes for homelessness’, 14th November 2006, Accessed on 21st May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.homeless.org.uk/policyandinfo/facts/causes

This article has dealt with the possible causes for the homelessness in the country. It has provided for some disturbing facts which never would have been noted unless this article has been read.

Homelessness, 2009, ‘England Trends over time’, 1st April 2009, Accessed on 20th May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.crisis.org.uk/policywatch/pages/england_trends_over_time.html

This article provides a clear statistics for the trends in the homelessness over the last 10 years. It also provides for an understanding of the increase and the decline in the number of people who have been living on the streets as well as the homeless in terms of both statutory as well as non statutory.

Quilgars, D., Johnsen, S. & Pleace, N., 2008, ‘Youth Homelessness in the UK’, May 2008, Accessed on 22nd May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/files/jrf/2221.pdf

This report has provided for a clear and detailed research about the youth homelessness. The research that has been undertaken in the report is very detailed and provides for a better understanding of the issues that young people face which lead them to becoming homeless.

Tameside, 2006, ‘Tameside Homelessness Strategy’, 19th October 2006, Accessed on 23rd May 2009, Retrieved from http://www.tameside.gov.uk/homeless/strategy

This article is from a company which deals with the homelessness in the country. It provides for the strategies that the company uses currently to deal with the issue of homelessness.

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