Lifestyle: Young people hit by benefit cuts

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The Independent Online
Increasing numbers of young people are being made homeless as a result of benefit cuts introduced a year ago, the charity Shelter warns today.

The cuts limited payment of housing benefit to the value of a single room in a shared property. In some areas, young people faced shortfalls of over pounds 20 a week between the local rent levels and what they could claim.

As a result, landlords are increasingly not prepared to rent to single people under the age of 25 and young people have suffered harassment and eviction as a result of the cuts. Some were pushed into the very worst accommodation available while others ended up on the street or homeless.

"The results make very depressing reading for anyone concerned with the welfare of young people particularly those who are extremely vulnerable," said Chris Holmes, director of Shelter. "They show that shared accommodation is often unsuitable for young people particularly 16- and 17-year-olds, teenagers with mental health problems and young people with HIV and Aids. It is clear that for many of these young people sharing accommodation is simply not appropriate, yet for many there is simply no option."

- Glenda Cooper, Social Affairs Correspondent