A report by youth homelessness charity Centrepoint estimates that by 2021 there will be a shortfall across England of nearly one million sub-market-rent properties – around one in six of these will be needed to meet demand from under-25s alone.
This shortage of “affordable” homes will create bottlenecks throughout the system, whereby young people cannot move out of hostels and into independent accommodation because those already in these properties have nowhere else to move onto, the charity says.
If enough additional properties are not available, more than 15,000 further units of supported accommodation – such as hostels – will be required to house young people initially after they become homeless.
The report calls for more homes to be built in the private and rented sector and for better use to be made of existing stock.
Centrepoint chief executive, Seyi Obakin, said: “This report shows just how difficult it is for young people to find a place to live at the moment.
“A combination of benefit changes, a shortage of affordable homes and an increasing anxiety amongst landlords to let to young people on housing benefit has created a crisis situation.
“Whilst it’s vital that more affordable homes are built, there are also other ways of tackling the problem which don’t come with a huge price tag.
“Local authorities must look at using powers they already have to tackle empty homes and engage further with the private sector, and government has to review its cuts to housing benefit rates, which has left private rented properties out of reach in many areas of the country.”