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Homelessness problems for under-25s up 57 per cent as recession takes its toll

30 January 2014

Citizens Advice warns that “hangover for young people” caused by recession has not been eased by recent good economic news

New figures published today show that the number of young people seeking help from a charity about homelessness and threatened homelessness has risen significantly since prior to the recession.

National charity Citizens Advice, today reports that the number of its clients aged 17-24 without a roof over their head increased by 57 per cent from 2007/08 to 2012/13. The number of issues of young people at risk of losing their home also rose steeply over the years of recession, with 39 per cent more young clients visiting their local Citizens Advice Bureaux for support over the period.

For those young people in work, getting fair treatment is also a growing problem, with a big jump in the number of problems with terms and conditions of employment for those aged under-25 since 2007.

The new data show that the impact of the economic downturn on young people has been “horribly tough”, says Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy.  The charity claims that investing in strong support to help young people find work and access housing must go hand-in-hand if school-leavers and graduates are to be able to live independently and contribute to the economic recovery.

From 2007/08 to 2012/13, Citizens Advice Bureaux saw:

•a 57 per cent increase in problems for young people about actual homelessness;

•a 39 per cent increase in problems for young people with threatened homelessness;

•a 49 per cent increase in problems for young people with terms and conditions of employment;

•a 10 per cent increase in problems for young people with pay and entitlements in employment.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:

“The hangover for young people resulting from the credit crunch will not lift overnight. For young people, despite recent welcome economic progress, the impact of the recession has been horribly tough.

“Not only are nearly one million young people out of work, but increasing numbers of them are also unable to put a roof over their head. The shocking state of our housing stock means social housing is severely limited whilst private renting is simply unaffordable for people on low incomes or out of work.

“Finding work and having a roof over your head go hand-in-hand. Getting employment in a jobs market still recovering from the recession is a daunting prospect and doing so without a place to live can be impossible. We need a system which focuses on building on each individual’s unique skills and talents to increase their chances of finding stable work.

“Supporting young people into work should be looked on not as a burden but as an investment in our country’s future. Without support and training to help people move out of education into work and paying taxes, securing the economic recovery and building a sustainable economy for the long-term will be significantly harder.

“Young people are interested what they can offer not what they can take. As Citizens Advice enters its 75th year, the number of young people volunteering with us is at a record high.”

The new figures come as Chancellor George Osborne warns that £12bn of spending could be cut from the welfare budget after the General Election in 2015.

Ministers are said to be considering cutting Housing Benefit for people aged under-25, a move which Guy warns could be “a major setback”, making it harder to tackle sky-high youth unemployment and pay for long-term challenges of social care and the state pension.


Notes to editors:

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.