Shame of teenage homeless in Calderdale

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Calderdale faces an increasing homelessness problem among the young after figures showed the number of teenagers without a home has risen over the last three years.

The number of young people in Calderdale aged 16-17 becoming homeless in 2014/15 accounted for 21.6 per cent of homelessness acceptances - double the national average.

In Calderdale domestic abuse accounted for 42 per cent of people becoming statuary homeless in 2014/15. Parents and other friends or relatives no longer being willing or able to accommodate is the second most frequent cause.

In recent years at least 49 per cent of Calderdale homelessness acceptances are single people, couples without children or adult siblings - a higher proportion of single person than the national or regional average

The figures, which shows the homelessness accpetance rise from 51 in 2011 to over 70 in 2014/15, come from a report by the Council’s director of Economy and Environment Mark Thompson.

The 2015 – 2020 Homelessness Strategy has been drawn up by Calderdale Council to tackle the issue which has the number of homeless acceptances on the increase since 2011.

In his report that will go before Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on Monday, Mr Thompson said: “Homelessness can be defined in a number of different ways. For many it conjures up an image of someone sleeping rough, for others it may mean living in very poor quality accommodation, experiencing domestic abuse or having no security of tenure.

“Whilst the 2015 -2020 homelessness strategy does deal with homelessness in its widest sense official homelessness statistics concentrate on households who are assessed by a local authority as being statutorily homeless; that is they meet specific criteria set out in legislation.

“In cases where a local authority is satisfied that an applicant is eligible for assistance, is in priority need and has become homeless through no fault of their own, the authority will owe a ‘main homelessness duty to that household. Such households are referred to as ‘statutory homelessness acceptances’.

“When a main homelessness duty is owed, the authority must ensure that suitable temporary accommodation is available until a settled home becomes available or the duty ends in some other way.

“In cases where a household is homeless, but not in priority need or is considered to have become homeless through their own fault, a lower level of duty is owed. This may be to provide advice and assistance to secure alternative accommodation or to provide short term temporary accommodation.”

The homelessness strategy provides an overview of homelessness in Calderdale and discusses a number of key factors, issues and concerns.

The strategy also describes the Council commissioned and voluntary sector support available for homeless households as well as providing information about availability and affordability of rented housing in the Borough.

However, throughout the development of the strategy, the steering group was mindful of that because of budget constraints and pressures there is likely to be little if any additional funding available to resource new services or initiatives.