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Homeless-main_article_image.jpg
Rex
UK News

Christian charity condemns Govt inaction as 22,000 youngsters set to sleep rough this Christmas

The number is comparable to the capacity of a sold-out gig at The O2 arena in London.

Centrepoint collated the data after talking to local councils about the number of 16 to 25-year-olds at risk of not having a roof over their heads this winter.

Mark Brennan, London Catalyst team leader for Christian homeless charity Housing Justice told Premier one of the problems comes down to a lack of housing.

He says the Government has continually failed to provide solutions for the country's growing homeless population.

"There's been plenty of lip service - all kinds of declarations and promises have been made that just haven't come through, which is obviously tragic."

He went on to say that although the issue of "conspicuous rough sleepers" needs to be addressed, this is just the "tip of the iceberg".

"The bigger issue is that below the waterline is hidden homelessness," Brennan said.

"If you look at documents and reports like the homelessness monitor, for example, they claim about 3 million people in England are hidden homeless," he continued.

"These are people that might have a roof over their head sporadically but they haven't got a home. They haven't got the support network behind them in order to sustain the accommodation."

Figures from Centrepoint found that 33 per cent of homeless young people have spent the night in a park, 27 per cent have slept in a tent and 10 per cent admit to riding a night bus to keep them from being on the streets.

In addition to the data collected from local authorities, Centrepoint spoke to more than 200 young people who have experienced homelessness.

It found 69 percent of those surveyed felt they had no one who cared for them, while 72 per cent said experiencing homelessness negatively impacted their mental health.

Brennan says broken relationships are a fundamental factor in young people ending up on the streets and applauded the church for making significant strides to support those without a home:

"We've got a church and community night shelter network that is now 145 projects strong across England and Wales with 51 of those projects all here in London, across every borough.

"To see how churches and faith organisations work together to try to address it is hugely encouraging."

Centrepoint is urging people to donate to help keep a homeless young person out of danger this Christmas.

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