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Thousands of young people 'denied' homelessness help

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Tens of thousands of young people across the UK are homeless or facing the risk of homelessness after seeking help from their local council.

Just 13% of statutory homelessness requests were accepted by local authorities in 2016-17, according to new analysis released by the youth homelessness charity, Centrepoint.

Paul Noblet, head of public affairs at Centrepoint, said: “These figures lift the lid on the hidden crisis of youth homelessness in the UK. Tens of thousands of young people are asking for help, with many denied proper housing assessments and in some cases their legal right to housing.”

Only a third of young people who applied to their council for assistance were given an assessment response in document reform, responses to a freedom of information request by 44% of 326 relevant authorities show.

This is hoped to change under new rules introduced by the Homelessness Reduction Act, which became statute last month. Council housing departments are now legally required to complete and record a full assessment of each homelessness applicant in order to provide meaningful assistance.

Centrepoint said this could mean more than 45,000 more young people presenting to councils each year.

Mr Noblet said: “The Homelessness Reduction Act is a step in the right direction but it is absolutely vital that central government provides adequate funding to allow councils to fulfil their new duties and carry out tens of thousands of additional assessments.”

Responding to the report, Martin Tett (Con), the Local Government Association’s housing spokesman, said: “Councils understand that every single person experiencing homelessness is facing an individual tragedy, and are determined to protect residents, especially young people, by preventing homelessness from happening in the first place.

“Councils are currently housing more than 77,000 homeless families with an excess of 120,000 homeless children in temporary accommodation. Whilst they are doing all they can to help families facing homelessness it’s essential that the new Homelessness Reduction Act duties on councils are fully funded.”

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