In light of the recently published data within the government’s annual Statutory Homelessness in England report, a disconcerting reality unfolds before us. It is disheartening to note the stark increase in the numbers of young people, aged 18-20, leaving the care system and subsequently grappling with homelessness or the looming spectre of such an ordeal.

The government’s own research unveils some rather distressing statistics for the fiscal year 2022/23:

 

The number of care leavers aged 18-20 confronting homelessness has surged by a staggering 33% since 2018. In 2018-19, the figure stood at 2,790, escalating to a distressing 3,710 in 2022/23. This demonstrates an alarming rate of increase, more than three times the growth observed in the general number of households facing homelessness, which rose by a mere 10.7% over the same period.

 

Within the last year alone, the number of care leavers aged 18-20 facing homelessness has risen by over 9%, climbing from 3,390 in 2021/22.

Startlingly, a significant proportion of care leavers, approximately 61.2%, aged 18-20, were already homeless by the time they sought support from their local authority.

 

This is an issue that demands urgent attention, and Katharine Sacks-Jones, CEO of Become, rightly expresses her concerns: “This data is depressing but sadly not surprising. Being pushed into adulthood without the right support in place puts young people at risk.”

 

Become is calling on the government to #EndTheCareCliff. Their recommendations are aimed at ensuring that no young person is forced to leave the care system prematurely:

 

  1. Enable young people to stay in their homes or connected to support by fully funding and making the Staying Put and Staying Close schemes an opt-out legal entitlement for all care-experienced young people up to the age of 25.
  2. Provide robust housing support, including the introduction of consistent guarantor and tenancy deposit schemes to remove barriers for care leavers entering private-rented tenancies.
  3. Amend homelessness legislation to offer automatic ‘priority need’ status to all care leavers up to the age of 25, regardless of vulnerability; exempt care leavers up to the age of 25 from homelessness intentionality rules, and require local authorities to remove the local area connection test for all care leavers up to the age of 25.

 

In the face of these disquieting statistics, it is crucial that we address the issue of homelessness among young care leavers and work towards a more supportive and equitable care system.

 

More information about the work of Become can be found here:

 

https://becomecharity.org.uk/become-the-movement/our-campaigns/ending-the-carecliff/#:~:text=We%20are%20calling%20on%20the%20Government%20to%20%23EndTheCareCliff.&text=Too%20many%20young%20people%20are,they%20need%20stability%20the%20most.

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