More young people becoming homeless as families crack under coronavirus pressure

Posted On 27 Mar 2020 at 12:33 pm

More teenagers and young adults are becoming homeless as families crack under the pressure of the coronavirus lockdown.

YMCA DownsLink Group is urging households to get counselling after seeing a rise in the number of cases, with nine people coming to them just yesterday morning saying they were homeless because their parents had kicked them out.

It says although its advice centres are closed, all its services are still available via telephone, email and video conferencing.

Meanwhile, the council said that all of the 105 extra units of homeless accommodation it found last week are now full – but it was confident that it would soon have enough spaces for all rough sleepers.

The charity’s director of children and young people Rachel Brett said: “This morning, we had nine young people present as homeless, with covid-19 (coronavirus) being cited as a cause.

“We expect this number to grow as we are likely to be asked to increasingly restrict our movements and remain at home over a longer period of time.

“We are aware that our ability to find housing solutions for young people presenting as homeless has become seriously compromised. It’s challenging to find relatives who are willing or able to take them and the supply of young people’s supported accommodation is under pressure.

“We are all now facing a national emergency. It’s vital during this very difficult time that young people and parent carers are able to support the national effort by working together and supporting each other as best they can over the next few weeks of confinement.

“None of us wants to see more young people put at risk through potentially having to sleep rough because of family breakdowns.”

The charity works on behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council to provide a single point of access for young people in housing need under the age of 25.

Its clients have diverse and complex needs including mental health issues, lack of money, drug and alcohol dependency and relationship issues.

It said that coronavirus measures such as isolating at home and social distancing were beginning to take a toll on what were already fragile relationships.

Some young people are being asked to leave because they don’t fully understand the need for social distancing and shielding grandparents from possible infection.

Others who have been sofa surfing are being asked to leave households who want to take greater precautions.

The council said: “As part of our work to combat covid-19, we’re urgently finding accommodation for all street homeless and homeless adults currently in dormitory style accommodation in the city to make sure anyone who needs it will have somewhere safe to stay.

“In the past week, we’ve secured 105 extra units of accommodation for people sleeping rough. All this accommodation is now full. We are working to secure more in the coming days.

“These temporary measures are safer than being on the streets and make it easier for vulnerable people to access the support services they need to break the cycle of homelessness. This is about health and wellbeing as well as shelter.

“We have also been working with our partners to identify accommodation for any homeless people who needs to self-isolate.

“We are working across a number of areas to create further capacity and help move people through and keep the emergency facilities as clear as we can.

“While this is a response to a health crisis, there are some positive outcomes. We have achieved all this in a short space of time. We are also confident we will shortly have enough accommodation and support for all rough sleepers in the city.

“This provides an opportunity of working closely with people in need to move them to more settled accommodation in the future.”

For families needing support, the mediation service is also still available and anyone concerned can contact them at YAC.FamilyMediation@ymcadlg.org or call 01273 624432.

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