Affects on Young People of Britain’s Hidden Housing Crisis

Panorama Special: BBC 1 Thursday 13 December 2012 @ 21.00pm

This Special Panorama documentary focuses on Britain’s embarrassing housing shortages but most importantly, some of the unlikely people that one would expect to be homeless or sleeping rough on the streets due to the economic crisis

 

In particular however, I want to draw your attention to the increase of a similar category of young people that are now homeless and sleeping rough and the government’s stance of stopping housing benefit for young people of 25 year olds and under.

 

Government minister’s reason or excuse for this decision is that we, adults, his generation has mismanaged spending (i.e. the government has mismanaged tax payers money) and young people will bear the brunt of this in their 40’s by paying higher taxes.

 

At this moment in time, do homeless young people who are victims of adult’s misspending, really care about taxes that they will be paying in 20 or 30 years time?

 

We all have a need for shelter and roof over our heads. When that doesn’t happen all else is secondary and all our efforts and energies are channelled into meeting that one need!

 

Homelessness is one of the reasons why young people self harm and self injure. The government’s stance of forcing young people back home is likely to exacerbate and have a huge impact on the situation.

 

Young people leave home for a variety of reasons, thus:

 

–         they are ready to leave their parents’ home and set up home by themselves

–         they’ve been kicked out of their parents home

–         they leave due to family break up

–         they are brought up in care and must leave at the age of 16 years old

–         they have experienced some kind of abuse at home (emotional, physical, sexual, verbal)

–         leave to escape the domestic violence situation at home

–         leave due to pressure of the strain of the current economic crisis on their parents either due to declining wages, increasing bills or their parents unemployment which may make them feel compelled to move out to ease the pressure and burden on the family

–         they are ex-offenders and have moved into their own residence

–         they are orphaned

–         Their parents lost their own homes due to the economic crisis!

–         other relationship/familial reasons

 

There is always a reason for young people leaving home!

 

Even in the past when some teenagers got pregnant so that they could get a council flat or house, there was more than likely a familial reason for going to such extremes to get one’s own place. Granted, there were likely to have been some naïve teenagers who thought it was a great fun thing to do until the reality check of bringing up a child on your own hit home.

 

But we are not talking about those kinds of teenagers today. There are young people on today’s streets that one would not expect to be there.

 

The government’s blinkered approach to stop housing benefit for ALL 25’s and under doesn’t take into account any of the above real challenges for young people. What’s more, the government is aware that the homeless figures for young people is on the increase! That is, more young people are already on the streets now! When you watch the programme, take a look at the government minister’s response to the young people’s questions. He didn’t want to be there!

 

If these young people are lucky enough to get some kind of assistance from a homeless charity, the charity in turn would be looking for some kind of assistance for the young person in the form of housing benefit to get and keep a roof over their heads.

 

Where does the government suggest that these young people go or return to? If things have gotten so bad so young people resort to sleeping rough, are they likely to return to circumstances that they felt that they could no longer tolerate? Whilst some young adults might be in a position to do that and mend some broken and challenging relationships, many others do not have that luxury!

 

The government’s stance is unfortunately a classic situation or trigger point for young people to start self harming (drink, drugs, eating disorder) or self injure (ingestion, cutting, hair pulling) or if they already self harm/injure, this behaviour is likely to be exacerbated.

 

This is yet another example of adults dumping on young people!

 

They didn’t cause the economic crisis nor did they make the government mismanage tax payers’ money! Therefore why force young people to pay in such a manner? There are other alternatives that the government could explore if they care to listen to organisations who are against their stance on stopping housing benefit for 25 year olds and under.

 

 

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