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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2006): Homelessness - UK

Decade of discrimination

S. Ellery

Roof, Nov./Dec. 2006, p.20-23

The single room rent restriction was introduced in 1996. It limits housing benefits for young people under 25 to what you would pay for a single room in shared accommodation. It is leading to serious hardship as young people are unable to afford private rented accommodation and are forced to live in hostels or sleep on friends’ floors. The restriction also means that private landlords are reluctant to accept young people as tenants.

Housing support

C. Stothart

Young People Now, Oct.11th-17th 2006, p.14-15

Discusses the impact of cuts in central government funding for supported housing for young homeless people. The Supporting People grant which funds such housing schemes is being cut in stages from £1.8bn to £1.7bn. A new distribution formula will be introduced in 2007/08 which will allocate funds to councils according to the housing support needs of their populations, rather than just funding existing schemes. Some councils will benefit but others will see a further funding cut. There are concerns that this may lead to pressure on services not to take clients from outside the local area.

Keeping it local

E. Simpson

Roof, Nov./Dec. 2006, p.33-35

Brighton attracts large numbers of single homeless people and has an acute shortage of social housing. The council is therefore refusing to help single homeless people and rough sleepers who have no local connection to the area. It is made clear to them that their only option is to relocate. There is a need for local authorities to work together to tackle this problem, and regional housing boards should ensure that sufficient specialist provision for the single homeless is available across the region.

Moving on up?

S. Livingstone

Housing, Care and Support, vol.9, Oct. 2006, p.19-22

Foyers deliver a holistic service to homeless young people, combining accommodation with training, job search, personal support and motivation. Two studies commissioned by the Housing Corporation consider the role and effectiveness of foyers, and the progression made by foyer residents as they move into independent accommodation.

Stop the blame game

C. Ellis

Roof, Nov./Dec. 2006, p.38-39

Councils where there is a shortage of social housing are refusing to accommodate vulnerable applicants such as those with mental health problems or substance abuse disorders on the grounds that they have made themselves intentionally homeless. The author calls for the repeal of the intentional homelessness provisions.

A UK survey on how homeless shelters respond to the mental health needs of homeless young people

H. Taylor, M. Stuttaford and P. Vostanis

Housing, Care and Support, vol.9, Oct. 2006, p.13-18

This study established that, in the foyer network, mental health provision for homeless young people, although present, is patchy and variable. Many foyers (79.2%) acknowledge that they have a responsibility to address mental health related needs and wish to offer additional services. Very few consider the services they currently offer to be adequate.

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