MP Tulip Siddique talks about the number of homeless youth
However, it is very unfortunate for many people across the UK that the coming months will be a period of instability, anxiety and unrest.
The Centrepoint charity, which supports homeless young people, estimates that more than 24,400 young people will face homelessness or are at risk of homelessness across England this winter. This means that 24,400 people aged between 16 and 24 are likely to find themselves without a roof over their heads during the cold winter months.
No one should have to deal with such devastating hardship at such a young age.
Every homeless young person will have their own story, and I know that despite the inspiring work done by local charities such as the Doorstep Homeless Families Project, Kilburn Streets Kitchen and others, there is no universal solution. However, I believe there are things we can do to begin to reverse youth homelessness.
Since last year, the number of young people in the UK turning to their local authority for support has risen by 5% to nearly 136,000.
It is extremely important that, when this contact is made, local authorities have the resources to provide the necessary assistance. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that local government has lost £15 billion since 2010, and this has had a real impact on their ability to provide vital support to young people facing homelessness.
I am determined to work with my Labor colleagues to change this situation if we form a government at the next election, by building strong local economies that support strong local public services.
This will include providing youth workers in A&E, in pupil referral units, and in all communities to ensure that young people slipping through the net are identified as soon as possible.
Young people also need to receive the necessary support once they experience homelessness – and this includes ensuring that the Government’s Tenant Reform Bill reserves their right to homelessness prevention support if they are served with a possession notice.
I regularly receive emails from sympathetic constituents expressing their concern about young people they see sleeping rough.
The last Labor government reduced legal homelessness by three quarters – and the next government will make it a priority to do the same.
- Tulip Siddiq is the Labor MP for Hampstead and Kilburn.