Removing access to Housing Benefit for 18-21 year olds could place many vulnerable young people at increased risk of homelessness. This briefing explains why.
Welfare change could place more young people at risk of homelessness
Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link:
“In her speech to Parliament today, the Queen outlined plans to give new opportunities to the most disadvantaged by expanding the Troubled Families programme. This is a welcome move, and we hope the Government will honour this intention by extending its reach to include individuals with multiple and complex needs.
“However, we are concerned that other proposals announced today could unintentionally lead to more individuals with troubled lives. Ending homelessness is only achievable through action to make the housing market work for all, and we hope the opportunity offered by the Housing Bill will lead to a significant increase in the availability of affordable housing.
“We are also extremely disappointed about today’s announcement to remove automatic entitlement to housing support for 18-21 year olds and concerned about the impact it could have on already vulnerable young people. Housing Benefit provides a vital safety net when people find themselves in housing need, and further restricting access could increase the risk of homelessness.
“Staying at home is simply not an option for many young people, and support to live independently is essential if they are to realise their education or employment ambitions. We strongly urge the Government to reconsider this policy and the unintended consequences it could have on those who need additional support to keep their lives on track.
“Our manifesto sets out the priority actions that would make the biggest difference to tackling homelessness over the next five years, and we urge the new Government to work with us to implement these actions. Homeless people need support to get their lives back on track and we will continue to work with our members to ensure the right help is available to those who need it.”
Homeless Link has been working with a number of homelessness agencies to raise awareness of why Housing Benefit provides such vital support to young people who have no choice but to leave home. The attached briefing outlines our concerns over the increased risk of homelessness this policy could cause.
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Stephen served as our Communications Officer until January 2016.