Homeless Young People — [John Robertson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:06 pm on 21st January 2015.

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Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton Conservative, Truro and Falmouth 3:06 pm, 21st January 2015

I am going to make a little progress.

That is not to say that I am complacent or that much more does not need to be done. I very much welcome the Crisis report, and I support a lot of its recommendations. The ones I would like to discuss today build on the need for a better evidence base for local planners and those making housing decisions.

Under the Government’s planning reforms, each local authority must do a local housing need assessment to make sure its local plan meets the unmet housing need of the people it represents. Having gone through that process in great detail locally, I know that some groups of people, such as young homeless people who are sofa surfing, are difficult to pick up in the statistics used to form the local housing needs assessment. Assessments must be robust and data driven, using data from the Office for National Statistics and others, but it would be useful—this is one of the recommendations from Crisis—to look at the guidance given to local authorities as they plan their local housing needs assessment to make sure that those young homeless people are picked up on and that their needs are met.

Following the success of the “No Second Night Out project”, which has done very well in Cornwall, we have much more information about young people and people of other ages who are homeless, but we now need, as part of the planning process, to work out how we can build more appropriate housing for their needs. People have all sorts of complex needs—they may have mental health issues or substance abuse issues, or they may be fleeing domestic violence—and they need supported accommodation, and the Glen Carne charity in my constituency provides it so well.