Homelessness: Young People

Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd July 2015.

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Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will bring forward legislative proposals preventing people aged under 18 years old from being categorised as intentionally homeless.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education)

Joint guidance from the Department of Education and the Department of Communities and Local Government reminds Housing Services that applicants cannot be considered to have become homeless intentionally because of failing to take up an offer of accommodation. Homelessness is only capable of being ‘intentional’ where the applicant has ceased to occupy accommodation that it would have been reasonable for him or her to continue to occupy. The guidance sets out how Children’s Services should follow a clear and comprehensive assessment of the child’s needs to determine whether they are homeless and therefore in need of accommodation.

The statutory guidance on the provision of accommodation of 16/17 year olds who may be homeless or require accommodation can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/8260/Provision_20of_20accommodation.pdf

The department has invested £500 million in homelessness services since 2010, including working with the voluntary sector to develop the ‘Youth Accommodation Pathway’ service model, designed to support young people to remain in the family home, or offer tailored support options for those who cannot. This includes supported accommodation as a starting point for 16 & 17 year olds. The pathway model has become common currency amongst local authorities and their partners and over half of English authorities now have a pathway in place.

The government has no immediate plans to legislate in this area.

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