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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Forty per cent fewer young homeless in B&Bs

May 24 2009
CLG statistics show that the number of 16- and 17-year-olds in B&Bs has fallen to 330 The number of young homeless people using bed and breakfasts as temporary accommodation fell by 40 per cent over the last year, according to new figures published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The statistics show that the number of 16- and 17-year-old youngsters living alone in B&Bs fell from 550 to 330 during 2008. The DCLG said the decrease was thanks to measures introduced by the government to tackle homelessness among young people, which include a supported lodgings scheme and improved access to family mediation. So far, local housing authorities have used B&Bs to secure suitable temporary accommodation for youngsters. However, in 2006 the government announced a new series of measures to tackle youth homelessness, including a commitment to end the use of B&B accommodation by 2010. Homelessness minister Iain Wright said: "Young people at risk of becoming homeless are some of the most vulnerable in society, and simply parking these young people in bed and breakfast accommodation without ensuring they have the skills or confidence for independent living just isn't good enough." But while the number of youngsters being placed in B&B accommodation is decreasing, the scale of the problem of homelessness among youths is still significant. A policy document released in 2007 by the DCLG showed that between 2005 and 2006, as many as 8,350 young people aged 16 and 17, together with 18-20-year-old care-leavers, were "accepted as being unintentionally homeless and in priority need specifically because of their age, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty". But DCLG figures suggest the trend is gradually improving. During the last quarter of 2008, 21 per cent fewer applicants - both adults and youths - were accepted as owed a main homeless duty than during the same period in 2007. As of December 2008, 15 per cent fewer households than the previous year were in temporary accommodation, which is the largest decrease since the figures peaked in 2004.