A young person aged 18-24 needs a deposit of £30,000 and an annual income of £42,000 (assuming a mortgage agreed of 4 times income) to buy a one bedroom flat in Croydon, based on the current entry level price of £196,8463.
This staggering fact is in the excellent briefing report to the Children & Young People Scrutiny Sub-Committee meeting on Tuesday 17 November, which is a must read for anyone concerned with the cuts and other economic pressures on young people.
The report ‘Housing For Young People’ is the background paper for the Councillor Committee members. The lead in the questioning and debate will be taken by young people.
The following ‘key areas’ have been ‘chosen to focus on’
- What housing is available to young people in Croydon? Does the council commission any such housing? What groups of young people is such housing available to?
- The legislative framework governing housing (and how it applies to the young)
- The availability and quality of housing advice for the young – the group have highlighted young people’s vulnerability to landlord harassment as they don’t know their rights
- The practical advice on how to manage one’s home on a day-to-day basis: which agencies/housing providers provide such advice?
- The extent of homelessness among the young and the impact of homelessness on them
- The vetting processes for prospective tenancies
Young people are defined as being between 16 and 25.
- Croydon has the 3rd largest population of young people aged 0-25 in London
- Croydon has the 5th largest population of 16-25 year olds in London
- There are an estimated 47,000 young people aged 16-25 living in Croydon
Housing costs for young people
- 748 (16%) 16-24 year olds are on the Council’s Housing Register which totals 4,639. ‘Over the past five years an average of 860 properties have become available to let. This means it would take at least 5 years to clear the current waiting list, provided no one else applied for housing.’
- ‘The rent for a room in a shared house in Croydon ranges from £79 to £112 per week. Using 35% of gross income as an affordability threshold, a young person would have to earn between £11,700 and £16,700 per year to be able to afford this level of rent.’
- ‘A young person would be entitled to housing benefit (local housing allowance – LHA) depending on their income. LHA is restricted to £82.46 per week in Outer South London £95.18 for a shared room in Inner South London.’
- 246 young people and care leavers are currently supported in housing by the Council out of a total of over 800 homeless and vulnerable people.
- The Council accepted 48 (23%) homeless applications from 16-25 year olds, out of a total 207 homeless applications accepted April to 30 June 2015.
- The main reason for young people approaching Croydon Council as homeless was parental/relative evictions
- c800 children are looked after under the Council, of whom c180 are aged 17 looking to move into independent accommodation from the age of 18.
The paper does not explain why most youth homelessness is due to evictions by parents and relatives.
The wider context
- The Council owns and manages just fewer than 14,000 homes.
- There are more than 10,000 housing associations homes in the borough, most of which the Council has nomination rights to.
- The Citizens Advice Bureau helped more than 900 people needing housing advice in 2013/14 and were able to prevent homelessness in a third of cases.
- In 2014/15 2,520 households applied to Croydon Council as homeless of whom 8880 were accepted in 2014/15, an increase of 15%.
- ‘On a typical night in 2014 – 30 people were sleeping rough in Croydon (+20% from 2013)’
Who are Croydon’s young homeless?
- Applications from almost equal numbers of female and males were received
- 134 (62%) applications were received from young people from BME backgrounds
- 153 (70%) of those that applied as homeless were also unemployed and not in training or education
The report can be read here: Young People Housing Scrutiny 17 November