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Teenage homeless shock

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Teenage homeless shock

A TEENAGER becomes homeless in Dumfries and Galloway every week, according to a shock new report.

In the first quarter of 2022/23, 15 youngsters sought emergency help from Dumfries and Galloway Council’s homelessness team.

That’s 15 cases in just 13 weeks.

Aged just 16 or 17, some of these teens were still in full-time education when found themselves without a roof over their head. There has also been an increase in children ending up homeless with their parents.

These figures were revealed in a report titled ‘homelessness and housing pressures’, which is due to be tabled at the full council meeting next Thursday.

The report reads: “There has been a rise in all household make up types and age groups presenting to homeless, however there are a few groups of particular concern.

“Historically the majority of presentations come from single applicants, and while 70 percent of current applications are still from this group, there has been a rise in families in homelessness.

“As at the end of June 2022 there were 123 children included on homeless applications, compared to 89 pre-pandemic.

“In addition, there were 15 presentations from 16/17 years olds in the first quarter of 2022, some of whom are still in full time education.

“When a homeless application is received, the service must make an assessment as to whether the applicant is homeless or threatened with homelessness.

“If an applicant is assessed as unintentionally homeless, the local authority then has a duty to source a permanent housing solution.”

The council typically helps homeless people secure a tenancy with a registered social landlord (RSL), however there has been a “significant slowdown” over the past six months in the turnover of social housing tenancies.

Registered social landlords are reporting a record low in tenancies ending, which is resulting in households having their homeless application open for longer and spending longer periods in temporary accommodation.

The report states: “This is reflected in a 92.1 percent increase in open homeless applications since 2019.

“As a result of the slowdown of availability across the region there are significant pressures being able to access permanent housing solutions in specific areas of choice for households.

“This can be compounded if a household has very specific property type needs.”

It was revealed last month that homelessness figures overall are climbing high in Dumfries and Galloway amid an increase in evictions – and private landlords cashing in on the booming housing market.

The number of homeless applications this summer jumped by a third compared to last year, primarily due to relationship break-ups.

However, a return to pre-Covid eviction rules and more private landlords selling their houses are also factors.

There were 325 applications locally for temporary homeless accommodation between April and June this year – 82 more than the same period last year.

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