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SUITABLE ACCOMMODATION VITAL TO STEER YOUNG PEOPLE AWAY FROM CRIME

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The Youth Justice Board has today called for views on its draft accommodation strategy. The strategy seeks to ensur...
The Youth Justice Board has today called for views on its draft accommodation strategy. The strategy seeks to ensure that there is a coordinated approach to preventing homelessness together with enough provision of suitable accommodation for young people who offend.

The strategy has been produced as a result of striking research evidence and the widespread experience of Youth Offending Teams (Yots) that young people who offend can face serious housing problems. An YJB survey in early 2004 found that 15% of young people seen by Yots were in housing need. Of those with housing needs, 20% were in bed and breakfast accommodation. The Audit Commission report Youth Justice 2004 estimated that 9,000 young offenders a year were placed in unsuitable accommodation.

Chris Holmes, member of the Youth Justice Board, said:

'Suitable accommodation for young offenders is critical if we are to steer them away from crime and ensure that young people released from custody are reintegrated back into the community. We know that homelessness can directly contribute to re-offending and can make it very difficult to engage young offenders in programmes to address offending, such as education and training.

'This strategy presents a real opportunity to work with national, regional and local partners to prevent homelessness amongst young offenders and those at risk of offending. But the board is not a housing provider and the strategy can only be successfully implemented if done so in partnership with a range of national, regional and local stakeholders.'

The strategy aims to address challenge of accommodation through:

- The prevention of homelessness and family breakdown

- The development of access, provision and support of suitable accommodation when remaining at home is not an option

The board is seeking to consult stakeholders from key government departments, local authorities, the voluntary and charitable sector, criminal justice agencies, registered social landlords and other housing providers, supporting people programmes, the commercial sector and other interested parties.

The strategy recognises that wherever possible young people who offend should be supported to live in their family home, but where this is not an option they should have access to suitable and supported accommodation.

Notes

1. The Youth Justice Board was set up under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to monitor the performance and operation of the entire youth justice system.

2. The survey and draft strategy are available here.

on the Youth Justice Board website at: http:www.youth-justice-board.gov.uk/practitionersportal/accommodation/introduction/

3. The consultation period will last until 19 August 2005.

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