Homelessness rise linked to cuts in youth services

Council cuts to youth services are linked to the rise in the number of homeless youngsters on Yorkshire’s streets in a new report.

 The report, by Foundation Yorkshire, a think-tank, suggests local authority spending cuts of almost £250, 000 are contributing factor to the rise in homelessness across the county.

The report, commissioned by the Yorkshire Party, concludes: “Whilst it would be wrong directly to attribute the reduction in youth sector services to the increase in homelessness in Yorkshire over the past decade, there is a correlation between the two.

“Given the known positive impact youth work has on improving prospects of young people, particularly those from deprived and vulnerable backgrounds, and addressing challenges that may lead to homelessness … continuing to cut local authority youth service spending will result in the number of young people who are at risk of homelessness increasing.”

The pro-devolution Yorkshire Party, which will launch its policy on homelessness next week, says that in the past three years local authority spending on youth services has been cut by £284,520. This had resulted in  the loss of 142.77 (Full-Time Equivalent)youth workers and 17 youth centres in Yorkshire. Local authorities are legally required to provide sufficient services and activities for young people under the Education and Inspections Act.

 Inzmam Khan

Homelessness charity Shelter recently found Yorkshire had 5,664 homeless people, of whom 207 were sleeping rough. This was a 12% rise in a year.

Research by another charity Crisis showed that local authorities often found 16-24 year olds among the most difficult to house, with many expecting it to become more difficult over the next few years.

Chris Whitwood, Yorkshire Party Deputy Leader, said: “The fact that homelessness continues to rise – by 12% this year alone – is a damning indictment of government policy.

“Youth services provide invaluable opportunities and skills that build confidence, develop personal and social skills and improve employment prospects. These skills help young people address challenges that may lead to homelessness.

“It is hardly surprising that there is a correlation between cuts to youth services and an increase in homelessness. By cutting youth services and failing to prevent homelessness, the government is failing young people,” said Chris, who has 10 years experience of youth work.

Chris was interviewed about the study on Bradford-based radio station Pulse FM. The report is available at https://www.pulse1.co.uk/news/local/pro-devolution-yorkshire-party-to-announce-policy-on-homelessness/

Foundation Yorkshire is a regional think-tank focused on generating Yorkshire-centred policy and research, being established by the Yorkshire Party.

The Bradford-based Yorkshire Building Society is in the middle of a three-year charity partnership with the group End Youth Homelessness to raise £750,000.

It says that this Christmas more than 18,000 young people will be at risk of homelessness nationally.

People can donate to the Society’s Christmas appeal at branches or by texting NEED18 £5 to 70070.

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