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This essay critically discusses the social issue of homelessness and its impact on young people and will show by the conclusion that there is no need for homelessness in England.

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Introduction

Choose a social issue addressed in the module and critically discuss its impact on young people. This essay critically discusses the social issue of homelessness and its impact on young people and will show by the conclusion that there is no need for homelessness in England. First to be addressed is who are the homeless or classified as homeless within the Housing Legislation Act and the Local Authorities acceptance of 'deserving' or 'undeserving' homeless and what underpins this and why. Next to be discussed is the problem of having to be in 'priority need', the underlying causes and push factors of young homeless people. Then the essay will highlight that the statistics are problematic in reflecting the actual figures measuring homeless young people in England. Additionally, the official statistics on homelessness are not only inadequate because they do not provide an actual count of applications or do not qualify as homeless under the current legislation, but also that the statistics do not represent 'hidden' homelessness. The essay will discuss if the historic debt for council houses could be written off, councils could then invest that money in improving existing stock and building new stock, therefore reducing homelessness (House of Lords Website, 2007). Next an outline of the Government's proposed package of tackling homelessness and a response to this from the campaigning homeless charities will be discused. The issue of Bed and Breakfast will be critically examined and finally, an in-depth look at 'Rough Sleepers' and how the measuring of them is manipulated to make it look that the Government have met their targets reducing rough sleeping by two thirds since 1998. Because the Government's definition of Homelessness is 'rooflessness,' which comes from the Government's Framework Initiative of homelessness (communities.gov website, 2007), it has narrowed the goalpost and does not take into account sofa hoppers, temporary shelters, living in squats or young people not registering with the Local Authority. ...read more.

Middle

However, Oldman (in Roche and Tucker, 2002) also argues that the causes of homelessness go further than the housing model and that it is the withdrawal of the benefit system for 16 and 17 year olds in 1988 which increased the youth homeless population and then the further experience of being homeless left them vulnerable and exposed physically, mentally and emotionally. For instance, young homeless people are more at risk from violence, sexual abuse, petty crime and drugs. According to estimates from charities, housing benefit numbers and local authority data more than 250,000 people under the age of 25 in England and Wales could be classified as homeless (endhomelessness website, 2006). However, the problem of youth homelessness may be larger than official figures suggest. Crisis found that 400,000 single homeless adults still do not have the right to access housing and the services they urgently need (Crisis website, 2007). However, Dromey argues that there is no need for homelessness as there are in excess of 700,000 empty homes in the UK (SocietyGaurdian website, 2003). For example, 3.1 percent of the population of Tower Hamlets are living in temporary accommodation and yet 7.1 percent of the borough's housing stock stands empty. Also in London and the south-east there are 185,000 empty homes. Of this total more than 80% are in the private sector and 70,000 have been empty for more than six months. Young homeless people often have difficulties in finding suitable hostel accommodation and many hostels will not accept 16 or 17 year olds (Shelter website, 2006). Some of the large hostels house mostly older male residents and young people can feel intimidated and unsafe in such accommodation. In response to this problem and the general rise in youth homelessness in recent years, some homelessness organisations have set up hostels, day centres and advice services specifically for young people (Crisis website, 2007). A �164m package for young homeless people in England, which will provide training and emotional support, has been proposed by the Government. ...read more.

Conclusion

To conclude, this essay has critically discussed homelessness and its impact on young people and has shown that there is no need for homelessness in England. It has looked at who are the homeless and over represented within that group, or classified as homeless within the Housing legislation Act and also the Local Authorities acceptance of 'deserving' or 'undeserving' homeless, the 'priority need' and what underpinned this and why. Also, the underlying causes and push factors of young homeless people was discussed, highlighting that the statistics are problematic in reflecting the actual figures measuring homeless young people in England. It was found the statistics on homelessness are inadequate not providing a true count of applications due to not qualifying as homeless under the current legislation and also that the statistics do not represent 'hidden' homelessness. The House of Lords report implied that if the historic debt for council houses could be written off, councils could then invest that money in improving existing stock and building new stock, therefore reducing homelessness. Discussed during the essay was what could be done to reduce the impact homelessness has on young people, such as ending the use of B&BS by providing more accommodation for young homeless people rather than using hostels housing older people as highlighted by Shelter. Also Oldman (in Roche and Tucker, 2002) argued an underlying cause of homeless young people is the lack of benefits and training which, if tackled would reduce homelessness. Davies et al. (1996) and Law et al. (1999) (in Somerville, 2001) argued to provide support to young homeless people with a family mediation service which would assist in either enabling the young person to return home or, to benefit from the continued support of family and friends if returning home is not an option. However, the biggest solution shown during this essay was Dromey who highlighted that there is no need for homelessness as there are over 700,000 empty homes in the UK (SocietyGaurdian website, 2003). ...read more.

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