They say council cuts to youth services are linked to the rise in the number of homeless youngsters in our region.
Council cuts to youth services are linked to the rise in the number of homeless youngsters on Yorkshire’s streets, according to a new report.
The research, carried out by Foundation Yorkshire, a think-tank, suggests local authority spending cuts of almost £250,000 are contributing factor to the rise in homelessness across the county.
The report, commissioned by the Yorkshire Party, concludes: “Whilst it would be wrong directly to attribute the reduction in youth sector services to the increase in homelessness in Yorkshire over the past decade, there is a correlation between the two.
“Given the known positive impact youth work has on improving prospects of young people, particularly those from deprived and vulnerable backgrounds, and addressing challenges that may lead to homelessness.
"Continuing to cut local authority youth service spending will result in the number of young people who are at risk of homelessness increasing.”
The pro-devolution Yorkshire Party, which will launch its policy on homelessness this week, says that in the past three years local authority spending on youth services has been cut by £284,520.
This had resulted in the loss of 142.77 (Full-Time Equivalent) youth workers and 17 youth centres in Yorkshire. Local authorities are legally required to provide sufficient services and activities for young people under the Education and Inspections Act.
The Yorkshire Party's policy will be released alongside a five-point plan, which they say will help end rough sleeping in Yorkshire by 2020.
The five points are:
- Instigate a 'Housing First' approach.
- Critical time interventions.
- Increasing 'Assertive Outreach' programmes.
- Joining-up housing and employment services.
- Taking a zero-tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour.
Homelessness charity Shelter recently found Yorkshire had 5,664 homeless people, of whom 207 were sleeping rough. This was a 12% rise in a year.
Chris Whitwood, Yorkshire Party Deputy Leader, said: “The fact that homelessness continues to rise - by 12% this year alone - is a damning indictment of government policy."
“Youth services provide invaluable opportunities and skills that build confidence, develop personal and social skills and improve employment prospects. These skills help young people address challenges that may lead to homelessness.
“It is hardly surprising that there is a correlation between cuts to youth services and an increase in homelessness. By cutting youth services and failing to prevent homelessness, the government is failing young people.”