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Youth homelessness has risen 40% in five years, says UK charity

homelessness

Youth homelessness has risen 40% in five years, says UK charity

Youth homeless in the UK has increased by an estimated two-fifths in five years, rising to more than 120,000, a leading charity director has warned, as fresh analysis suggests that black households are likely to be disproportionally affected

Seyi Obakin, the chief executive of Centrepoint, the UK’s leading youth homelessness charity, said its estimates show 86,000 young people in the UK presented to their local authority as homeless or at risk in 2016/17, and that the figure increased to 121,000 in 2019-20.

Obakin expressed fears that youth homelessness would worsen as a result of the pandemic, with Centrepoint’s helpline receiving a record number of calls since the start of the crisis. He also believes young black Britons will probably be disproportionally affected.

His warnings come as Guardian analysis shows that although England’s black population stands at about 3.5%, black households make up 10% of those that are homeless or at risk of homelessness, according to data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) for the year 2020-21.

In London, black households represent 30% of those owed homelessness prevention or homelessness relief by their local authorities, despite making up just 12.5% of London’s population.

In the Guardian analysis, homelessness, and being at risk of homelessness, is defined by whether a local authority owes prevention or relief duty to a household. The data is not broken down by age.

“It is not surprising that black households are overrepresented in official homelessness statistics, but this does not mean we should tolerate it. Without a home, children’s development and educational attainment suffers and it becomes harder to find a job or stay healthy or maintain relationships that enable people to thrive,” Obakin said.

Obakin said that Centrepoint saw a third more calls to the helpline since the start of pandemic, with huge surges of demand around local lockdowns. He pinned this increase down to the multiple crisis disproportionally affecting young people, from mental health issues to high unemployment, and urged the government to intervene.

“The problem is worse than it was a decade ago and it’s actually worse than it was two years ago,” Obakin said. “It is heartbreaking to see the range of complex issues that young people are presenting with is also getting wider. That in a way is a mirror of what’s happening in society itself.”

He said racial disparities in youth unemployment, with analysis showing black youth employment was more than three times higher than among their white counterparts, had a knock-on effect on youth homelessness. “We know from our data that about three-fifths of young people who seek help from Centrepoint are from ethnically diverse backgrounds,” he added.

He fears the problem will worsen now the government has pushed ahead with its planned cuts to universal credit, which he describes as a vital safety net. “That safety net is what is being cut. So I worry young black people will be disproportionately affected,” he said.

Obakin said that through the newly created DLUHC, the government has a “tremendous opportunity” to not only tackle rough sleeping, “but to go beyond and ensure that those who are homeless, or face homelessness are given the support and services they need before they have to sleep rough. That is good for the people, and it is also good for the taxpayer.”

A DLUHC spokesperson said: “The government is helping prevent more young people from becoming homeless, and this year we’ve invested £750m to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

“During the pandemic we made huge progress to bring rough sleepers off the streets, helping over 37,000 people into safe and secure accommodation, including 26,000 who have already moved into longer-term accommodation.”

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Environment

134 Dead, 76,887 Houses Destroyed As Flooding Hits Jigawa

Heavy flooding in Jigawa State has resulted in the death of 134 persons and destroyed 76,887 houses.

The deputy governor of the state, Alhaji Umar Namadi disclosed this when he hosted the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) official, Rahman Rihub Mahmud Fara on Saturday.

He said the state lost property worth more than N1.5 trillion to the floods.

A total of 22 roads and 11 bridges were completely washed away by the floods, he said.

The deputy governor said an entire village was also completely destroyed.

He said the flood affected 272,189 people, out of which 76,887 lost their houses.Mr Namadi said Kirikasamma and Birniwa local government areas are greatly affected.

UNICEF chief field officer in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa, Mr Fara, said they came to assess the situation and see what could be done to alleviate the suffering of the communities affected by flood in the state.

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Environment

NEMA Confirms Four Dead In Mushin Building Collapse

The three-storey building which collapsed on Friday in Lagos killed four persons.

This is according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The agency said one other person was rescued in the building that collapsed on Oye Sonuga Street, Palm Avenue, in Mushin, Lagos.

NEMA South-West Zonal Coordinator, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, revealed that those who died were two males and two females.

Earlier, the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins the cause of the collapse would beinvestigated.

It is learnt that the three-storey building built 40 years would be pulled down immediately for safety reasons and to forestall further collapse, said Bamgbose-Matins.

He has therefore, ordered the Lagos State Building Control Agency and the Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory to unravel the cause of the collapse.

 

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Environment

Flooding Displaces 2000 In Nasarawa Communities

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Heaving flooding in some communities in Nasarawa state has caused the displacement of about 2000 people.

The Chairman, Doma Local Government in Nasarawa State, Ahmed Sarki-Usman who spoke on Friday during an assessment visit to the affected communities said the incident happened on September 20.

He said his visit was to ascertain the level of damage caused by the flood to report the situation to the state government for necessary action.

“It is unfortunate that the flood destroyed houses, farmlands, produce and other valuables worth millions of naira. Many inhabitants of the area affected by the flood have deserted their homes and are now camping at primary schools as temporary sites. What my people are facing is completely devastating,’’ he lamented.

Sarki-Usman urged people in the communities to remain calm as the government would soon assist them.

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