Cuts to housing benefit will put young people at risk.

640px-alcoholism_-_streetCuts to housing benefit for 18-21 year olds will increase homelessness and put more people at risk of harm or abuse.

That is the message coming from housing charities in response to the government’s announcement that young people on low incomes will no longer be automatically entitled to support with housing costs.

Youth homelessness charity Centrepoint has warned the changes in entitlement to housing benefit risked forcing thousands of young people onto the streets.

Local residents have also spoken out about the impact changes will have.

Bo, from Portsmouth said:

“I was homeless as a young lad and being able to claim housing benefit allowed me to not only start living somewhere but gave me the opportunity to go to college and better myself. If there was no support in place my life would have headed on a bad path.”

Daniel, from Landport said:

“I became homeless during my teenage years but at the age of 20 managed to secure my own tenancy. I was working but didn’t make enough to pay the full rent. If I hadn’t been able to claim Housing Benefit I would have had to choose between paying the rent or buying essentials such as food. I would probably fallen into arrears and been evicted, becoming homeless once again.”

Cal Corkery is Youth Officer for Portsmouth Labour and is also employed locally as a homelessness support worker. Commenting on the plans he said:

“Young people are already feeling the brunt of the housing crisis and these cuts to Housing Benefit will only make things worse. Locally it will mean teenagers staying put in overcrowded or abusive households because there is nowhere else for them to go.”