Y= Youth Homelessness
I’ve touched on this topic a little throughout this challenge, but want to get into a little more detail, which when doing some research gave me a jolt to realise just how endemic youth homeless has become, and got me wondering how these young men and women, have slipped under the radar.
CRISIS has stated that youth homelessness is on the rise, and when this is added to the mix of adult homelessness I think we are only looking at the tip of the iceberg as far as the numbers for homelessness are reported.
The biggest causes for Youth Homelessness are:
* Being told to leave by parents
* Leaving care and unable to pay rent
* Escaping violence from a family member
To go into a little more detail, when asked to leave by parents, there could be behavioural issues, unemployment, a parent gets a new partner, there could be substance abuse within the home.
When in care your supported by the government until your eighteen, it’s not often that there are ancillary support services to monitor how the young fare when left on their own, many often end up on the streets, sleeping rough or squatting.
Just to note, many young the same as adults are not often informed correctly as to what support is available in your area, therefore they do not know that they can access advice and ongoing support, especially in areas of education, which is usually poor dependent on their circumstance many are excluded from school and again fall through the cracks as over stretched and underfunded local authorities, literally cannot keep up with the demands.
Young homeless are of course more vulnerable to the dangers of sleeping rough, or in squats and often can fall prey to those that seek to exploit them be it substance abuse, crime,prostitution, in fact many will enter into these activities as a way of being homed, and being “looked after”
51% excluded from school
40% are victims of abuse at home
33% Self harm and other associated mental health issues
30% have been in the care system.
Other underlying facts are dependent on where you live if the unemployment rate is high which can mean very little opportunity for long-term employment, therefore unable to secure affordable accommodation.Youth unemployment is currently at 23% which an all time high, so compound this with a poor education, with no skills to offer, they do not always make the best candidates for jobs, coupled with the exploitative employers, zero contracts, it’s hard to build a foundation.
When we look at the young homeless on the street to be honest most will think no hopers, or they could to better if they were motivated, to some degree there will be those that will fare much better than others, and again it would be easy to suggest that a terrible home environment, unemployment cannot be the only reasons as to why this is reaching epidemic proportions.
We no longer have extended families where all your relatives lived close by, therefore, grandparents, aunts,uncles had a hand in your upbringing, or could even be there to offer respite if things were less than Ok at home, many young had some kind of refuge, with families over the last 40 years now scattered over different parts of the country, job migration, you tend to lose that anchor of family and community, and can easily become displaced, I think in many ways were seeing the effects of that now.
There were and are so many forms of abuse happening behind closed doors and although the young are encouraged to talk about it they don’t because stigma and they blame themselves, you can;’t really blame them for running away, only to fall into a worse situation with sometimes deadly results.
With no housing benefits for the under 25’s, yet more of our youth are being forced onto the streets, what does the government think that we all just have these places that we can just conjure up to stay, as an adult, I have better resources and have work skills that I can offer, many of the young have no resources, and many can’t go back, for two reasons:
* Go back to what….
* They’ve had to survive in a different why and are too ashamed to go back or even ask for help, they are resigned to their lives now.
This isn’t only happening here, however I’m so ashamed in many ways, I don’t believe it’s the government’s job to keep me employed or housed, however they must release the money so that affordable housing can be built, give more to local authorities so they can better fund issues like homeless, and one that serves all areas of the community no matter what their status.
How would you feel if you had to send someone onto the streets because you had no support to offer them.
Have we become so desensitized to the plight of the less fortunate, that they really are invisible to us, and what of our homeless youth is it acceptable to lose a generation, especially as many don’t live till their mid 20’s, they we need a future so we can contribute to our society and communities and not be marginalised and forced to find ways to survive, that we would all find unpalatable.