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Vulnerable teenagers often placed in unsuitable accommodation

In reality, thousands of care leavers are being placed in bed and breakfasts, and a third of are believed to live in accommodation that is deemed “unsuitable”. As a result, vulnerable homeless young people are being placed in housing or other accommodation that is potentially dangerous and has frequently not been adequately inspected. Teenagers may end up in bed and breakfasts for weeks while they wait for more suitable accommodation to become available and for council officials to deal with their cases.The worst council for poor homing is Wokingham, which found suitable accommodation for just 40 per cent of care leavers, according to official figures. One teenager related: “I was the youngest one there, there were homeless people [who] lived there, and there were drug addicts and not nice people. They were all men, I think I was the only girl that was there.” Councils are supposed to have procedures in place that means young homeless people are given immediate access to accommodation, as well as education and a social worker.
Angela Sandhal, public law solicitor at Atherton Godfrey, said: “Care leavers are widely regarded as being very vulnerable so it is a matter of considerable concern that some of these young people are being placed in unsuitable housing despite there being a legal duty on Local Authorities to have plans in place for their transition to adulthood shortly after reaching the age of 16. Sadly, there are cases when these plans are prepared much later, leading to temporary unsuitable arrangements, which only serve to heighten vulnerability. In other cases, they are simply not adequate in ensuring that the young person is fully equipped with all the services that they need and are entitled to start their adult life with the best possible chance of success.”
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