16-year-old Father Forced to Live in Tent Due to ‘Inexcusable’ Council Actions
August 8, 2012
The Fresh Outlook
Two councils have ‘failed’ a homeless 16-year-old, who resorted to living in a tent through snow, vandalism and ill health.
A homeless 16-year-old resorted to living in a tent for nine months and selling his belongings to survive after two councils failed to assess his needs or provide him with accommodation, an investigation has found. local government ombudsman Anne Seex said in her report issued today: “These failures are inexcusable … He spent nine months sleeping in a tent, sometimes in snow, or on friends’ sofas. His tent was vandalised and his physical and mental health suffered.”
The teenager, whose identity is not being disclosed, had been taken into care by Kent County Council and fostered from the age of 12 to 14. He returned to live with his mother, who had mental health problems, but she told him to leave after an argument when he was 16. He had been involved in drugs and crime and had fathered a baby.
Dover District Council failed to accept him as homeless and provide suitable temporary accommodation or contact Kent children’s services about him. They had offered him bed-and-breakfast accommodation, but he had declined it because he was worried it was in an area where he might be tempted back to offending and drug use.
The housing charity Shelter, which took up the case, said that many councils were failing to meet the needs of homeless 16 and 17-year-olds, despite court rulings and government guidance that have confirmed their responsibilities.
By Sarah Leyland
[Image courtesy of thebugfather]