Young Welsh Homeless Get Left Out in the Cold

2006 Tachwedd 14 4:50 PM

Commenting on today's announcement by Ruth Kelly, Communities and Local Government Minister, that a package of £164m is being set aside to tackle youth homelessness in England, Jenny Willott MP Liberal Democrat Youth Spokesperson, said:

"Over 40% of homeless people in Wales are between 16 and 24 years old. Yet not a single penny of this £164m package for will be spent on tackling homelessness amongst young people in Wales.

"Official figures show that homelessness in Wales has more than doubled since 1999. But, this is undoubtedly an underestimate as it does not include the large number of people who live in squats, on friend's sofas or in poor quality hostels.

"The Government's seems to be starting to get the message that youth homelessness cannot be solved by slamming young people into shoddy, temporary accommodation. Young people need the skills and training to allow them to contribute the most they can to society, get a job and ultimately find a permanent place to live.

"But when the single biggest cause of homelessness in Wales and the UK at large is parents unwilling to allow their children to live with them, we have to consider providing parenting skills to prevent family relations from becoming irreparably damaged.

"There is also clearly a chronic shortage of affordable housing in Wales. Local authorities need the powers to manage the number of second homes in their areas, suspend the right-to-buy and legally require private property developers to provide affordable housing as part of their development."

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