The call comes following the publication of the most recent Youth Homelessness North East (YHNE) report, showing that youth homelessness is continuing to rise across the region.
In February 2014, between 246 and 275 young people presented as homeless to local authorities. This equates to an average of between 31 and 34 presentations per local authority and is an increase on the previous year’s average of between 18 and 23 presentations
Arnott said “There simply isn’t enough one bedroom accommodation available throughout the North East for those who wish to secure their first property. It is incredibly unfair that those who do manage to get their first place, are taxed on any extra rooms that they may hold”.
The survey showed that the introduction of the bedroom tax had affected 72% of the respondents either ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a bit’ in young people’s ability to access secure accommodation.
Six housing associations and two homelessness agencies in the survey also suggested that young people’s understanding of welfare reform was poor, with one homelessness agency also suggesting understanding was ‘very poor’.
“Our benefits system needs to be accessible and flexible. The whole system is completely mind-boggling. People should at least be able to have some sort of understanding of the system so they can clearly see just what they are or aren’t entitled to.” Mr Arnott added.