Every child and young person deserves a roof over their head and a safe place to call home. I completely agree with you about the significant cost of youth homelessness, both to individuals and society. I also recognise the important role charities such as Centrepoint play in drawing attention to the experiences of young people affected by homelessness.
I would like to assure you that the Government is firmly committed to tackling all forms of homelessness including youth homelessness. The Government’s Ending Rough Sleeping for Good strategy, which is backed by £2 billion, recognises the particular challenges facing young people experiencing homelessness. I was encouraged to see the strategy put prevention at its heart. The Government has committed over £1 billion to councils in England through the Homelessness Prevention Grant to help them prevent homelessness over three years, including youth homelessness.
In addition, at the Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced that the Government is increasing the Local Housing Allowance to the 30th percentile of market rents from April 2024. This will mean that 1.6 million low-income households will be around £800 a year better off on average in 2024-25, and will make it more affordable for young people on benefits to rent properties in the private rented sector.
Government support for housing-led solutions includes the £200 million Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme which aims to increase the supply of good quality specialist supported accommodation and housing-led approaches. I understand that the Government has encouraged local authorities to bid for youth-specific supported accommodation as part of this fund, which will help support young people at risk of homelessness. In addition, £2.4 million of the Rough Sleeping Initiative 2022-25 is dedicated to supporting local youth services.
Since 2018-19, the Department for Education has provided funding to local authorities with the highest number of care leavers at risk of homelessness or rough sleeping. This funding continues to provide targeted support to young people leaving care most at risk of homelessness. I also understand that the Government provides bespoke support for local authorities through the Homelessness Advice and Support Team which helps to promote joint working across housing authorities and children’s services.
I have been assured that the Government will continue to work with local authorities and partners in the voluntary and community sector and private sector to tackle youth homelessness. Nonetheless, with your permission, I will relay your concerns to my ministerial colleagues.