A homeless charity has seen a major increase in the number young people seeking help.
An annual report from the charity Key blames financial pressures on parents for the rise in demand from 17 to 19-year-olds, and director Ursula Patten says this is down to changes in benefits.
She said: “When young people do become homeless in this age band, this is usually because they are asked to leave by parents.
“Key is noticing that more young people are saying that this is because parents are struggling to keep them when they no longer get tax credit or child benefit.”
There has also been a rise of 22 per cent in the number of people receiving support across Key’s services year on year. A total of 493 young people turned to the charity in the last 12 months.
The charity has secured additional funding and expanded its services to help more youngsters.
Currently based at the Civic Centre in West Paddock, with plans to move to a more permanent base in Balfour Court in Leyland next month, the charity is seeing significantly more females than males using its ‘drop-in’ and ‘floating support’ services, with 70 of the 90 cases female.
Ms Patten said: “With floating support, many of the people who need help are young families in tenancies, and more of these are females. Floating support helps people to sustain their tenancies. We work with young people for a number of months and put a plan in place to help them live independently.
“That could involve help with budgeting, paying bills, finding furniture, or enrolling with a dentist for example.”
Despite a rise in the number of people needing help, the charity’s report shows 74 per cent of the young people Key worked with achieved a positive housing outcome in 2012/13, which means they moved into supported housing, obtained their own tenancy, returned home, remained at home with parents, or secured another form of settled arrangements.
In relation to family mediation cases, 92 per cent of those helped either returned home or were helped to stay at home when they might otherwise have had to move.