Prevention better than cure for youth homelessness, finds new report

Ending youth homelessness depends on supporting young people at risk through Wales’ schools, hospitals, care services and criminal justice system, according to a new report from the Wales Centre for Public Policy.

Responding to the First Minister’s call to eradicate youth homelessness in Wales within the decade, the Centre has worked with homelessness experts from York University in Canada to analyse what governments can do to tackle the issue.

The report finds that early interventions which stop young people from becoming homeless before it happens is the key to eradicating youth homelessness.

It recommends:

  • Working across Government to increase the public’s awareness of available support and services for young people at risk of homelessness;
  • Creating ongoing support for young people leaving care, some of the most likely people to become homeless, until the age of 25;
  • Ensuring that young people being discharged from the criminal justice system are helped to plan their next steps and have access to a range of housing options.

Dr Jonathan Webb, Research Officer at the Wales Centre for Public Policy, said:

“Anyone seeing the rise of young people sleeping rough in Wales’ towns and cities will want to know what can be done to help them.

“What our new report shows is that stopping young people from ending up without a home in the first place is the most effective way of eradicating youth homelessness.

“This needs people from across Welsh Government, local councils and public services to work together, ensuring safety nets are in place which stop young people from falling through the gaps between current support services.”

The full report can be read by clicking here.