It is alarming that the numbers of young people aged 16 to 24 in Stockport seeking homelessness support from Stockport Council leapt from 200 in 2016/17 to 373 in 2017/8 according to Centrepoint.
One of the main reasons given by young people for being in such a desperate position was because parents or relatives were no longer willing or able to look after them.
This is a trend nationally and throughout Britain in the last year more than 100,000 young people presented as homeless as they struggled to find a safe place to sleep and a permanent place to call home.
I am particularly worried about 16 to 17 year olds facing homelessness.
Children and young people need our protection and we need to think of more ways of preventing them from becoming homeless in the first place.
We need longer term good quality supported accommodation for young people who are not yet adults to give them a stable home base.
Too many young people are in poor hostel accommodation. Half of missing incidents are of 16/17 year olds from unregulated accommodation They are very vulnerable to grooming for sex or by criminals who exploit and coerce children and young people to undertake criminal activities, including running drugs in ‘County Lines’ operations.
We also need more projects like the Nightstop Network who help homeless young people find a safe place to stay, one night at a time. This is an invaluable service because it means that a young person will not spend that night on the streets, a bleak prospect, with the risk that that will turn into days and weeks.
Nobody should end their childhood on the streets.
Tuesday May 8, 2018
The government has broken a promise to cut soaring numbers of children being “farmed out” to children’s homes vast distances from where they were brought up and live.
Ann Coffey, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, will use a Commons debate today (Tuesday) to say there is growing evidence that “a sent away generation” of vulnerable youngsters are in danger of falling prey to paedophiles and drugs gangs.
The government pledged to clampdown on so called out of borough placements five years ago but there has been a 64 per cent rise nationally in the number of children being sent to live away between 2012 and 2017.
There has also been a huge increase in the number of sent-away children going missing with the number of missing incidents more than doubling to almost 10,000 a year.
Supporting homeless people is very much on people’s minds as winter sets in, and in Stockport I am concerned to see a rise in the numbers of people sleeping rough in the town centre. We are fortunate to have the Wellspring which offers help- with the generous support of local people and businesses – for example through the Rucksack Project which encourages donations of rucksacks and warm winter clothing.
However it is sometimes hard to be successful in getting long term rough sleepers off the streets for a number of reasons.