Anne McTaggart MSP challenged the Scottish Government on youth homelessness today (28thMay 2013), drawing on her experience as a former Social worker for Glasgow City Council.
Ms McTaggart was speaking in an Equal Opportunities debate “Having and Keeping a Home, Steps to Preventing Homelessness among Young People”.
UK homelessness charity ‘Crisis’ has identified that most young people who end up without accommodation do so because they have been told by parents or carers to leave the family home. Crisis recognised that the overwhelming majority of young people that find themselves without accommodation can be considered as vulnerable, with over 50% having been excluded from school and over 40% identifying as survivors of some form of abuse. One third of homeless young people are also known to self-harm.
Ms McTaggart cited the lack of affordable social housing in Scotland as compounding the problem, and means that even when social work staff have addressed the needs of the young people they work with, they may be further restricted in the level of assistance they can provide due to limited supply of suitable accommodation.
Anne McTaggart MSP said:
“The most effective means of tackling the root causes of youth homelessness is when third sector organisations work in partnership with well-resourced social work departments across local government. As a former Social Worker with Glasgow City Council, I know that Social Work Services engage with local and national voluntary organisations to share information and resources when necessary, for the benefit of our most vulnerable young people.
“The excellent work of our voluntary sector must be complimented by an adequately funded public sector and a substantial increase in the construction of affordable social housing across the country. This collective approach is the only route to ensure that Scotland’s young people are not casualties of Westminster welfare reform, Holyrood local government cuts and rising levels of unemployment.”
– For more information on the work of Crisis, click here