Overwhelming numbers of young homeless people

  • New research has revealed that half of all homeless people first become homeless aged under 21.

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    The study, conducted by Cardiff University for homelessness charity Crisis, is the first ever profile of single homeless people across England, Scotland and Wales. It shows the reasons why people first became homeless, and the lack of help received by these homeless people means that the majority have recurring experiences of homelessness as they just do not get the help they need. 24dash reports. 

    The research also found that people who become homeless at a young age often leads them to be involved in violence, substance abuse and mental and physical health problems.

    These are results drawn from interviews with 480 single homeless people from across England, Wales and Scotland:

    • Averagely, people first become homeless at 22. Half of those who are first made homeless are aged 21 (48%) and one third aged under 18 (34%).

    • 60% of homeless people first become homeless after a household dispute, a third of which are violent. Around one in four homeless people have experienced violence or abuse from family or friends and one in five have experienced violence or abuse from a partner.

    • 61% of homeless women have experienced violence or abuse from a partner.

    • Nearly 50% homeless people have had problems with mental health.

    • Nearly two thirds received either no or very limited general advice from their council when seeking for help, or were referred elsewhere.

    • 10% of homeless people have never had a permanent home in their adult life.

    The report's author, Dr Peter Mackie stated, "This report is the first since devolution to reveal the real differences in people's experiences of homelessness and of seeking help. Whilst the assistance in Scotland is clearly better than anywhere else, it is worrying that across Great Britain we are failing to assist the vast majority of single people who become homeless. If we want to prevent problems from growing for these people and of course for wider society, we must make assistance available to all homeless people."

    Chief Executive of Crisis Jon Sparkes stated, "Homelessness is a horrifying experience for anyone, but it is especially damaging for young people, who often become homeless again and again because they can't get the help they need. This is a tragic waste of young lives. We need to make sure people can get help at an early stage".

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