Social Problems and Social Welfare

3488 Words Jul 12th, 2010 14 Pages
For many of us when we hear the term “Homeless” the first image that often springs to mind is a person huddling in a sleeping bag or cardboard box in a doorway of a city street. Whilst media imagery and information released by charities can support this picture the problem of homelessness encompasses a far wider range. This discussion looks at homelessness with a particular emphasis on young people – that is young people typically aged between 16 and 24.

In its simplest form Homelessness means not having a home. In this context a home is not just a house, it is a permanent, private roof over your head, a place of security with community links and support. It should be of a decent standard and affordable. (Shelter Nov 2005)

The statutory
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The Homelessness Act 2002 widened the classification of homeless people having a priority need to include 16-17 year olds, care leavers aged between 18 and 20 and persons who are vulnerable due to them being in care, prison, armed forces or fleeing violence and/or threats of violence. This is a step in the right direction but bearing in mind we are considering young people to be 16-24 where is the support for persons 18 years +? There is still a significant gap here considering the lower minimum wage and benefit levels available in this age range.

Other legislation places duties on Social Services departments to provide for people in and leaving care namely The Children Act 1989 and The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000.

What is the impact of homelessness on young people? The “More than a roof” report acknowledged that historically government’s investment in affordable housing has been significantly too low. Council House stock has been depleted through the successful Right-to-Buy scheme but these stocks have not been replaced. Whilst there has been a required move away from “council housing” towards housing association accommodation, an ever increasing population combined with this under-investment has left a significant gap in the countries overall housing stock. Regional factors are also worth considering – The “prosperous South East” corner of the UK has attracted a migrating population seeking
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