Young people account for 1 in 4 of all homelessness enquiries to the charity
The number of under 25s seeking help with benefits and housing issues is rising according to national charity Citizens Advice. Between April 2010 and March 2011 Citizens Advice Bureaux across England and Wales dealt with over 700,000 problems from people under the age of 25.
- Enquiries from under 25s about housing issues have risen 14 per cent compared with 2009/10.
- Enquiries about benefits are up 8 per cent.
- Enquiries on debt and employment have remained static.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:
“With nearly a million 16-24 year olds unemployed, it’s no surprise that so many young people are coming to Citizens Advice for practical help and advice. This group are finding it particularly hard at the moment, and we’re seeing their money worries starting to develop into real housing problems and even homelessness.
“Across hundreds of our local bureaux, we are helping young people stay on top of their bills, pay rent and keep track of changes to local services. A big problem here is that so few young people realise they can often get financial support, such as Housing Benefit.
“While it can be daunting to seek advice, our work shows that the sooner you tackle a problem, the easier it is to put right.”
The top 10 problems that under 25s sought advice on in 2010/11 were:
|Issue||Ranking 09/10||Number of problems
|1) Housing Benefit||No. 2||27,841 (up 2%)|
|2) Privately rented property||No. 3||26,204 (up 10%)|
|3) Unsecured personal loans||No.1||25,594 (-10%)|
|4) Jobseeker's allowance||No. 6||21,187 (up 2%)|
|5) Working and child tax credits||No.7||20,114 (up 9%)|
|6) Bank and building society overdrafts||No.5||19,942 (-16%)|
|7) Debt Relief Orders||No.12||19,681 (up 27%)|
|8) Credit, Store and Charge card debts||No.4||19,055 (-23 %)|
|9) Telephone and broadband debts||No.10||18,682 (up 7%)|
|10) Pay and entitlements||No.8||18,350 (up 5%)|
Growth in housing issues
- Privately rented property was the biggest housing issue that young people sought advice for in 2010/11, with over 26,000 problems reported - up 10 per cent compared to 2009/10.
- Bureaux dealt with over 10,000 problems from under 25s about threatened homelessness last year, up 16 per cent.
- Bureaux dealt with over 6,000 problems about actual homelessness, up 25 per cent.
- More than one in four (26 per cent) of all actual homelessness problems come from under 25s.
More young people needing advice on benefits
- The problem that under 25s sought the most advice on in 2010/11 was Housing Benefit (27,841 issues), which took over the top spot from 2009/10’s most enquired about problem – unsecured personal loans
- Jobseekers allowance (JSA) and working and child tax credits are also among the top five problems for this age group.
Disability related benefits have seen the biggest increases in problems for young people:
- Under 25s seeking advice on problems with Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), a benefit for people who are unable to work due to a health issue or disability, have jumped by 42 per cent (12,968 issues). The benefit has come under particular criticism for the test claimants have to undergo to decide if they are fit to work or not.*
- Under 25s problems with Disability Living Allowance (DLA) care component (where a disability is severe enough that you need a form of regular care) have gone up 18 per cent (11,232 issues).
- Problems this age group have with DLA mobility component (if your disability severely affects your ability to walk) have gone up 16 per cent (8,843).
Credit enquiries down, but insolvency up
- Whilst credit and debt issues are still very prominent in the top ten problems faced by under 25s, levels fell for the most common types of debt (personal loans, overdrafts and credit and store cards).
- However other types of debt problem are on the increase; young people seeking information on Debt Relief Orders (DRO’s) jumped 27 per cent (19,681 issues). A DRO is a relatively new form of insolvency, which can be a better option than bankruptcy for young people with severe financial problems, because of their lower incomes and lack of assets available for creditors
- Telephone and broadband debts were also up 7 per cent - with under 25s representing nearly one in four (23 per cent) of all problems reported on this topic.
Gillian Guy continued:
“Citizens Advice is the UK’s biggest advice charity and helps people of any age, with any problem. Under 25s often have specific issues, so we’ve now pulled together lots of useful information in one place at: advice4me.org.uk. As well as via a computer, the site is compatible to view on mobile phones so you can get advice ‘on the go’. Our advice is free and confidential and as well as the site, we have friendly advisers at over 3,500 community locations in England and Wales.”
* The Citizens Advice report Not working looks at problems with the work capability assessment for ESA:
For full 2010/11 statistics outlining enquiry numbers to Citizens Advice Bureaux for all age groups see: