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Around the World: United Kingdom; A look into homeless youth in the UK.

      With Brexit talks coming to fever pitch, and the future of Britain’s relationship to the rest of the world uncertain, the country faces its growing issues domestically. Across the UK there are currently tens of thousands of homeless people without any security. Global poverty issues such as food security, housing, and access to healthcare are unfortunately common in the developed world.

      While these situations still pale in comparison to those of the global south and developing nations, it is notable that these same extreme poverty conditions are prevalent in otherwise wealthy nations. With the quality of life generally amicable for most people living in the developed world, questions of justice and stability arise when faced with this growing issue.

      In the UK, the homelessness crisis has had a distinct effect on young people, which has lead the government and other organizations to start treating it as its own distinct issue. According to a study by Cambridge University’s Centre for Housing and Planning Research, there are approximately 40,000 young people in housing accommodation due to homelessness, a little less than half of the estimated near 100,000 young people without consistent housing.

      It is suggested that this estimate is far below the actual amount, as it is difficult to track and study. Many of these young people exist in a limbo-like state as they spend a few months at a time sleeping at the residences of friends and family, but then find themselves without a place to stay shortly after. This causes the homeless population to fluctuate each year.

      CentrePoint, a charity organization organized to combat the problem has identified several agitating factors that are leaving these youth without a home. Most youth who are housed through one of the programs stated that familial breakdown and violence as reasons that keep them on the streets.

      Rampant mental health issues which in turn cause these youth to turn to illegal drugs often keep them from being able to re-enter society. Debt and poverty serve as limiting factors in re-entry, as well as a lack of funds or completed formal education prevents many of these youth from finding work. Approximately 1 in 10 of these youth are unaccompanied minors fleeing civil war and violence in their home countries.

      It is apparent that while there are ways for youth in the UK to find themselves homeless, the key contributor to the sheer volume of homeless youth is the inability to re-enter society and find work. The problem as identified by CentrePoint is less that these young people are being pushed into homelessness, but more so that once they become homeless, there is little opportunity to find their way out.

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