Thousands asked for help last year
There are fears that more young people will soon become homeless as a result of the coronavirus pandemic after thousands appealed for help last year.
Across Nottinghamshire at least 2,290 people aged between 16-24 approached their local authority in 2018/19 because they had become homeless or were at risk of losing their home.
Centrepoint, a youth homelessness charity, conducted a Freedom of Information request and all councils responded, except Newark and Sherwood District Council.
Of the 2,290 people, just 733 – or 32 percent – had a positive outcome, which includes finding accommodation or where homelessness was prevented.
The charity is now concerned the pandemic may lead to more young people becoming homeless, having already received calls from people who had lost their homes due to the pandemic, as financial resources are stretched and local authorities come under pressure.
Centrepoint’s Chief Executive Seyi Obakin said: “The government is repeatedly telling everyone to stay at home – but that is simply not possible for some of the country’s most vulnerable young people.
“The government are already stepping up support for homeless young people but they need to go further and ensure every local authority continues to provide support and by ensuring that charities and councils have enough funding to carry out their responsibilities.”
In Ashfield, 144 young people approached the council for help, while 67 had a positive outcome.
The district council said it shared the concerns raised by Centrepoint.
A spokeswoman said: “The council is committed to preventing as many residents as possible from experiencing homelessness, as set out in our Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Prevention Strategy 2019-24.
“This strategy was developed in partnership with a large number of stakeholders including services that work with young people and together we are working to increase the affordable accommodation and support available to young people.
“This work includes the Care Leaver Offer that has been developed across Nottinghamshire and engaging with secondary school and college students on living independently.
“Young people often become homeless after being asked to leave by the family or friends they are staying with and find it hard to access social housing or private rented sector housing due to their income levels, the landlord’s application criteria and lack of independent living skills.
“We share Centrepoint’s concern that young people will become homeless as a result of coronavirus, which is making it more difficult to access accommodation. We continue to support our residents through this time in a range of ways, including if they are facing homelessness, and encourage any resident who needs our support to get in touch.”
In Broxtowe, 71 people asked for help from the local authority, of which 35 received a positive outcome.
A spokesperson said: “Homelessness has an effect on many different vulnerable people in the community and Broxtowe Borough Council and its Housing Options Team work hard to try and intervene early and prevent homelessness as effectively as possible.
“It has a number of strong and established partnerships with local charities and advice services to try and assist vulnerable people, such as younger people.
“The council acts within the guidelines and legislation set by central government. Legislation dictates how factors such as eligibility and priority need should be managed.
“The council’s experience of the Homelessness Reduction Act, on the whole, has been that it has led to more people receiving more support at an earlier point. It has however not increased the availability of accommodation options to place vulnerable people.
“Broxtowe Borough Council, like many other local authorities, is working hard to put in to place additional provisions during the coronavirus pandemic to provide additional support for groups, such as rough sleepers, who may be more at risk from developing the virus or are negatively affected because of support services closing or operating reduced levels of provision.”
Centrepoint’s figures show 107 people approached the council for help, while 61 had a positive outcome.
Rushcliffe Borough Council’s cabinet portfolio holder for housing, councillor Roger Upton, said: “The council aims to prevent homelessness through measures overseen by our housing team including access social housing, helping with benefits, liaising with landlords and arranging emergency accommodation.
“It is part of the Youth Homelessness Forum led by Nottinghamshire County Council’s Children and Family Services, working with them to assist young people with issues surrounding homelessness.
“It also commissions Broxtowe Youth Homelessness to work in Rushcliffe schools teaching young people about housing and leaving home from peer educators who have been homeless themselves.
“Those threatened with homelessness in Rushcliffe should contact us on 0115 981 9911 as there are many ways we can help.”
Mansfield had the largest number of people approach the authority for help out of all the districts and boroughs in the county.
A total of 324 people were either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and 75 had a positive outcome.
Jill Finnesey, head of housing, said: “We have a wide range of initiatives to reduce the complex issue of homelessness and prevent it from happening in the first place.
“We encourage people of any age who are at risk of homelessness to contact us on 01623 463463 as soon as possible so we can work with them to prevent them losing their home.
“Find out how you can help us to support our most vulnerable community at www.mansfieldstreetsupport.co.uk.”
In Nottingham, 1,398 young people were at risk or homeless, and 379 had a good outcome.
The city council did not comment by time of publication.
Gedling Borough Council did not respond, by time of publication, to the figures which displayed 118 young people approached the council for help, with 61 receiving a positive outcome.
In Bassetlaw, the number of people who approached the council was 128, while 55 youngsters had a positive outcome.
Speaking of the situation across the county, Dawn Jenkin, public health consultant at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “We understand and acknowledge that youth homeless remains a challenge for us and authorities around the country.
“In Nottinghamshire, we have been working together for many years within our established ‘Youth Homelessness Forum’.
“The Forum brings together organisations such as the County Council and the district and borough councils, who have housing and social care responsibility for children and young people up to the age of 25.
“In the current climate we are working together using our established relationships to quickly adapt existing processes and create new ones to ensure that we continue to be able to meet the needs of our homeless populations regardless of their age and situation in this challenging and unprecedented time.
“If anyone has urgent concerns for a child who they believe is homeless or rough sleeping they can call us immediately on 0300 500 80 80.
“Our countywide street outreach service continues to proactively look for and support new rough sleepers of all ages and anyone with concerns about someone sleeping rough should phone them directly on 0800 0665356.
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