There is no dedicated space in London’s emergency homeless accommodation for young people, admitted the Mayor today, during questioning from Sian Berry.
London is suffering an ‘historic high’ of very young people pushed out onto the streets, most for the first time, making them uniquely vulnerable to harm.
The Mayor today told Sian Berry that plans for separate hotel accommodation for under-25s have fallen through after Government funding failed to materialise.
In response Sian asked the Mayor to ringfence a specific proportion of his own rough sleeping budget to fill this gap.
Sian Berry said:
“I’m raising the alarm today that a real crisis is coming for young people. We are already seeing an historic high of under-25s forced to live on the streets. The informal support struggling young people normally rely on from family and friends is much harder to find under coronavirus restrictions.
“I am hearing warnings from all over London, from homeless outreach workers and youth services supporting young people, that homelessness and rough sleeping is rising and getting worse.
“The Mayor has admitted there is no dedicated space within his emergency accommodation programmes for young people, and this had to change.
“Following my questions today he has now promised to investigate and l hope he will implement practical help, backed up with ring-fenced funding, before winter sets in and young people facing the brunt of this crisis are permanently harmed.”
Sian has met with youth workers from homelessness charities for young people, and in badly affected boroughs. Outreach workers in Newham reported finding young people bedding down in parks for the first time, as informal support becomes impossible, leaving them nowhere else to go.
Between July and September this year numbers of young people sleeping were up 47% from the same period last year. Young people now make up 11 per cent of rough sleepers, the highest proportion ever recorded.
Recent research from Sian also found that, due to coronavirus rules meaning different households can’t mix, thousands of Londoners were forced to close their doors to someone facing homelessness that they would have otherwise have put up in their homes.