Welfare system gaps must be plugged | Depaulcharity

Depaul helps people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Welfare system gaps must be plugged

August 14th, 2018

While broadly welcoming the renewed focus on rough sleeping, Depaul UK said today (Monday, 13 August) that the Government is in danger of failing to meet its target if gaps in the welfare system are not plugged.

Depaul UK Chief Executive Mike Thiedke said: “We are disappointed that the Government’s rough sleeping strategy fails to make a firm commitment to deal with clear shortcomings in the welfare system.

“It merely promises to consider making welfare system changes after 2020, by which time more young people will be sleeping rough because they can’t find anywhere they can afford to live.

“Depaul UK is calling on the Government to bring housing benefit for young people back in line with the real cost of renting. This would prevent young people ending up on the streets in the first place.”

The charity has published its own rough sleeping report, Life on the Streets, to coincide with the publication of the Government’s strategy.

The Depaul UK report says that in 40 areas in England where Government figures showed that 225 young people slept rough on a single night, only 57 private rented rooms were available to young, single people claiming housing benefit – one room for every four rough sleepers.

Mr Thiedke added: “The number of young people sleeping rough in England has increased by 28 percent over the past year - in many areas, young people who are out of work and can’t live with their parents have no chance of getting a roof over their head.”

However, he said: “This strategy offers some measures that can help young people escape sleeping on the streets, by recognising the vital contribution made by volunteer hosts of our emergency accommodation network Nightstop and promising more funding for intensive work with care leavers.”

Media Contact: Ollie Wilson, Head of Communications, Depaul UK, Oliver.Wilson@depaulcharity.org.uk, 07823 412127

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