Centrepoint Warns Housing Vulnerable Young People in London Could Get Much Harder


Centrepoint, the UK’s leading youth homelessness charity is warning it could get much harder for vulnerable young people in London to find somewhere to live.

The Government has been asking for feedback on its plans to change the way councils allocate social housing, and that consultation closes in less than a week (Tuesday 26th March). These include a series of tougher Tests set by Westminster. The charity is concerned a “one size fits all” approach will leave local authorities unable to make the right decisions to end youth homelessness in their area.

Centrepoint research shows London’s youth homelessness problem is getting worse. Last year, more than 20,000 young people faced homelessness – a record level and a 10 per cent increase on the previous year. **

This week, London Councils also warned more than 320,000 households in London are on waiting lists for social housing. ***

Under these new proposals, most applicants will have to prove they have lived locally for two years, which experts at Centrepoint say is “clearly not realistic” for young people with experiences of homelessness.

Analysis also suggests Tests linked to historic Anti-Social Behaviour could see vulnerable young people permanently kept off the waiting list for housing, after making mistakes they do not realise amount to potentially criminal behaviour.

Instead of changing the rules, Centrepoint is urging the Government to prioritise the building of truly affordable housing and to invest in mediation to settle differences between landlords, tenants and communities.

Balbir Kaur Chatrik, Centrepoint’s Director of Policy and Communications said: “waiting lists for social homes are long and young people already find themselves near the bottom. The only real way to reduce the number of people waiting for affordable and social homes is to build more, not peacocking about with new so-called crackdowns.”

“The young people we support want independence and a chance to start again. It’s our job to help them achieve that but these new Tests would make it much more difficult. Ministers say it’s about ‘fairness’ – how is it fair to tell a vulnerable young person they will never be entitled to social housing, because of a single mistake they made as a teenager?”

“We need a system that truly understands the needs of the people who have to use it and this plan couldn’t be further from that.

“At the very least, there should be further exemptions to include more young people with experiences of homelessness. As things stand, many will continue to face the trauma of having no place to call home.”