Housing Benefit change will hit Norfolk young homeless
YMCA Norfolk Chief Executive Tim Sweeting has expressed concerns over the changes to Housing Benefit announced by Chancellor George Osborne MP in this week’s Budget, saying they could mean 130 more young people become homeless in Norfolk.
He said: “The changes, which will see the automatic entitlement for Housing Benefit removed for 18-21 year olds, could affect almost 50% of those currently housed and supported by the YMCA in Norfolk. This amounts to around 130 of the 260 young people currently offered a safe home and support by the YMCA in Norfolk.
“It will affect the most vulnerable young people in our county. For many young people we support, Housing Benefit provides a safety net at a point of crisis. It helps to provide a safe home and prevent young people from living in situations of domestic abuse and violence or turning to rough sleeping.”
There was also disappointment that the new National Living Wage will apply only to people aged over 25-years-old, meaning young people will have to remain on the lower National Minimum Wage.
Denise Hatton, Chief Executive at YMCA England, said: “Contrary to what has been previously said, the fact is that the majority of young people on Housing Benefit are not on it because they have simply made a choice to leave home and live on benefits. They are on it because their circumstances mean they have no choice. While noting the Government announcement to include exemptions for the most vulnerable, it is imperative that the form that these will take are laid out specifically.”
YMCA is the world’s oldest and largest youth charity, intensively supporting 228,000 young people across England every year. Research shows that up to 1,400 young people across YMCAs could be made homeless by the Housing benefit changes if they are implemented in full.
Pictured above is the YMCA Norfolk My Place accommodation in Norwich city centre.