The number of homeless applications in Edinburgh has reduced from 5,512 in 2006/07 to 4,310 in 2011/12. Homeless households have a young profile and more than half are under 30 years old and 45% are under 25.
40% of female applicants are under 25 and 29% male and this only includes the main householder, there are almost 1000 families with young people aged 16 – 18 in them.
The recession has led to higher rates of youth unemployment in the UK than have been seen since the 1980s and whilst rates have been slightly lower in Scotland, the pace of recovery is unclear. UK welfare reform will also have an impact in the coming years as the belt is tightened.
As the system is changed to one of universal credit, housing benefits are capped and the housing benefit rules change, young people in social housing will be further impacted. The UK government have been discussing the impact of removing housing benefits for under 25s and we hope that this does not go ahead as when this happened 25 years ago it lead to a peak in youth homelessness which led to The Rock Trust being established.
The Scottish Government however does state in the recent Spending Review that they will be prioritising young people and preventative services to get the best value for money in the long term.