Bromley sees 200 per cent rise in homeless youth needing housing, charity reports

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A homeless charity has reported a 200 per cent increase in Bromley youth being referred for housing.

As well as more young people needing a place to stay, in the same period a 41 decrease in host families was recorded by LATCH. 

The figures, charting a rise of eight to 24 between 2012 and 2013, have led to the organisation appealing for more of the borough’s families to come forward to help as part of an anniversary campaign.

The Bromley-based charity, which works to find accommodation for homeless 16-25 year-olds, has now launched its 20/20 project to mark 20 years service and hopes to find 20 spare rooms in ordinary households across the borough.

LATCH director Nici Moran said it is hugely important for young people to get the best possible start in life.

She said: "It cannot be emphasised enough that the youngsters feel depressed and worthless when they come to us.

"By being placed in a caring atmosphere, they do regain their self-confidence and esteem through the support of both the LATCH staff and their host who provides a spare room.

"Many of our young clients find work and others go back into education following the fresh start and stability that LATCH gives them."

In 2009 the charity was able to place 37 young people in accommodation, but just 12 in 2013 - a 68 per cent drop - due to a lack of host families.

LATCH explained Social Services does not have a statutory responsibility to help those aged 18-25 and added there is still no hostel accommodation in central Bromley.

The team also argued that bed and breakfasts, sometimes used as temporary measures, do not provide youngsters with the support needed to give them a fresh start and the chance to move out independently.

Bromley Council said: "The LATCH project is a charity giving homeless young people accommodation and support in the homes of ordinary householders.

"Its aim is to give such young people the chance to make a fresh start and become active and valuable members of the community.

"The council works with LATCH to refer young people and would support its appeal for much needed host families."

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