The council needs £1.5m in extra funding to help every young person facing homelessness, new research suggests.

Councils are obligated to assess anyone who seeks homelessness support.

This means issuing a prevention duty, stopping them from becoming homeless if they are deemed to be at risk, or a relief duty, where the authority must help an already homeless applicant secure accommodation for at least six months.

Research from youth housing and homelessness charity Centrepoint and WPI Economics shows 1,084 young people presented themselves as homeless to the council in 2022-23.

But of these, 644 (59 per cent) were not screened.

Using this figure, the charity estimates the council would need a further £1.5m to cover the costs associated with assessment and support.

A council spokesperson said: “Here in Bolton we triage all young people’s cases.

“Those under the age of 18 are subject to wider social care assessment including accommodating those young people who wish to become looked after by Bolton, and housing is a key part of this.

“Where an additional homelessness assessment is needed that is completed.

“For those aged between 18 and 24 we have a range of additional support available including dedicated mediation, money skills, and advice and support services.

“These can often address the potential for homelessness before it reaches the threshold for formal assessment, which explains the gap between us and other areas.

“Additional resources to both prevent and relieve homelessness, including case assessment work, would be very welcome, as this report highlights.”

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Figures from youth housing and homelessness charity Centrepoint and WPI Economics show more than a third of 16-24-year-olds who present as homeless across England went unassessed in the year to March 2023.

Nationally, 120,000 young people presented as homeless in 2022-23, with over 40,000 estimated to have been left without support.

It means councils would need a 15 per cent increase in government funding, equating to a shortfall of around £332m.

Alicia Walker, head of policy, research and campaigns at Centrepoint said: "Councils have a legal duty to assess anyone who presents as homeless, but we are deeply concerned that they do not have the means to carry out these duties.

"It's not good enough that so many young people are not getting the chance of that assessment, let alone accessing support."

She added: "We can’t just blame councils for this. It’s clear they don’t have the resources to meet the increasing demand for homelessness services, and the government needs to address this crisis."

The shortfall predictions are based on the unassessed applicants requiring the same level of support as those already screened.

However, the researchers warn the national shortfall could rise to £425m in a realistic worst-case scenario – including £1.8m in Bolton – should a higher proportion of people require support.

In a more optimistic scenario, the local funding gap drops to £1.2m.

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: "We recognise that young people experiencing homelessness face particular challenges, and we want to ensure that they get the support they need.

"That is why we are spending £1.2 billion over three years to give councils the funding they need to prevent homelessness and help more people sooner, as well as supporting councils with our dedicated youth homelessness advisor roles."

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