An exciting new partnership was announced today between Adref, Dewis, GISDA, Llamau and Swansea Young Single Homeless Project (SYSHP). End Youth Homelessness Cymru will work together to develop a Welsh dimension to the existing UK campaigning and fundraising group End Youth Homelessness, led by Centrepoint and where Llamau is the Welsh representative.
In one of its first actions, the End Youth Homelessness Cymru partnership is calling on the Welsh Government to put an end to the practice of placing vulnerable, homeless 16 and 17 year olds in bed and breakfast accommodation which, the partnership says, puts them at an unacceptable risk, with the same bed and breakfasts being used by many local authorities to house newly released adult prisoners.
Dewis Chief Executive, Stuart Mckinnon commented “Dewis offers its full support to the End Youth Homelessness Cymru Campaign. Charities specialising in the support of young people are continuing to see increasing demand for services, in an environment where funding continues to diminish. A civil society should be built on respect and opportunity for all, and sadly young people are often stigmatised and excluded. The support of young people and the harnessing of their skills and abilities should be at the core of the Welsh Government’s agenda, and without stability of accommodation and the right support, Wales will not fully realise one if its greatest assets.”
Llamau Chief Executive, Frances Beecher added: “Llamau is delighted to be part of the End Youth Homelessness Cymru partnership. With the advent of even stronger cuts to welfare benefits, the divisive and punitive removal of automatic entitlement to Housing Benefit for 18-21 year olds and the exclusion of young people from the National Living Wage, it is clear that a generation of young people are in danger of being left behind, penalised simply for being young and in need of support.
It is difficult to see how young people can move on and escape homelessness when they have no right to help with housing costs and neither are they entitled to earn what this government calls a living wage. In this context there is a danger that use of Bed & Breakfast accommodation will have to increase to cope with the rise in the number of young people losing their home.”
Liz Slade, Chief Executive of SYSHP commented “We at Swansea Young Single Homeless Project are pleased to join with partner organisations in this new End Youth Homelessness Cymru campaign. This campaign is launched at a vital time for young people as they become more and more marginalized in our society and particularly with the more vulnerable young people facing increased difficulties. We call on the Welsh Government to end the use of Bed & Breakfast accommodation for all young people whatever their circumstances and to consider the specific needs of young people within their new anti-poverty agenda.”
End Youth Homelessness Cymru will campaign to ensure that there is a greater consistency in the way that the charities make young people’s voices heard by politicians, policy makers and by the general public.
Frances Beecher added, “If we do not speak up for young people, who will?”