A thousand vulnerable teenagers are evicted by local authorities every year, new research has found.
A study by charity the Children’s Society indicates that there are around 8,400 16 and 17 year-olds in the country who are not in foster care or a children’s home but still require a place to live. Therefore, local authorities placed them in alternative housing such as “hostels, and semi-supported accommodation”.
However, a large number of them – around 1,000 every year – face eviction or are asked to move on very short notice. This is usually a result of falling behind on rent or other bills, unemployment or drug issues. Once evicted, they are either placed in worse accommodation such bed and breakfasts or face homelessness on the streets, according to the recently published report.
Sam Royston is the charity’s director of policy and research. He said that it was “unacceptable that children are being evicted from the very places intended to keep them safe and prepare them for adulthood”.
He added that “too often older teens are being let down by the bodies that should be protecting them”.
The Children’s Society research also found that staff at such accommodation do not require any qualifications. Additionally, the 16 and 17 year-olds often stay in places which also house other troubled people who can be up to 25 years old. This could leave them “at risk of sexual exploitation or involvement in crime”, the charity claimed.
In a statement announcing the newly published report, the Children’s Society recommended that the government introduce funding for people who run hostels and other accommodation for vulnerable teenagers. This would give them “the financial support they need to give these children the best standards of care”.
Measures should also be put in place “to make sure that vulnerable 16 and 17-year-olds can never be left without support after being evicted”, the charity urged.
To read the full Children’s Society report, On Your Own Now: The risks of unsuitable accommodation for older teenagers, click here.