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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 16:24 GMT
Homeless plans 'good first step'
Homeless charities in England have welcomed the government's 164m package to tackle the problem among young people.

CLARE TICKELL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, NCH

"There is no question that every child and young person must have a safe and stable home. The risks that homeless young people face can be unimaginable.

"Government plans to tackle youth homelessness are a good first step but wider measures need to be considered.

"The government must recognise the importance of working with families to prevent children and young people being taken into care or ending up on the streets. Crisis intervention can keep these families together and turn lives around.

"Stopping the use of B&Bs must be extended to include care leavers of all ages.

"NCH has been calling for an end to the use of B&BS for care leavers and while many local authorities have stopped, until the practice ends, vulnerable young people will remain at risk."

JENNY EDWARDS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, HOMELESS LINK

"We warmly welcome a move to ensure that hostels nationally become places of change - providing programmes of positive activities including skills and learning.

"This builds on and supports the excellent work many of our member organisations are already doing.

"We also welcome the important pledge to take young people out of unsuitable bed-and-breakfast accommodation and into more supportive lodgings.

"These and the sort of family mediation schemes now proposed by the government have already proven their value where they are currently offered."

LESLIE MORPHY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CRISIS

"We must not ignore the plight of the around 400,000 single homeless adults who still do not have the right to access housing and the services they urgently need.

"These hidden homeless live under the government radar and urgently need homes and the opportunities to engage in learning and skills to rebuild their lives.

"We need to see real and substantial commitment to funding affordable permanent housing and innovative solutions that help homeless people re-skill, find work and build positive networks."

ANGELA SARKIS, NATIONAL SECRETARY, YMCA

"The government is right to signal a limit on the use of B&B accommodation for 16 and 17-year-olds.

"Leaving vulnerable young people to struggle in often cramped and dangerous conditions has been a scar on our conscience for far too long. It's vital that young people, who find themselves homeless, have a range of suitable services, which offer family mediation support and a thorough assessment of their needs.

"We aim to broaden our work in schools to educate young people, and their parents, about the dangers of homelessness, as prevention will always be better than cure."

BILL PAYNE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, YORKSHIRE HOUSING GROUP

"We already have a national network of supported housing schemes for young people which provide skills training and employment support to help vulnerable young people get back on their feet.

"Due to the varied and complex funding sources it means that these organisations often struggle to maintain this all-round support service and have to keep going on a hand-to-mouth basis.

"Extra funding will give housing services for young homeless people a massive boost, but simply repeating what we do now risks not exploiting our full potential to innovate and achieve a lot more."


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