Homelessness charity CEO welcomes council tax commitment to care leavers

Joe Connolly

Joe Connolly

The CEO of Glasgow homelessness charity Ypeople has welcomed Nicola Sturgeon’s plans to exempt care experienced young people from paying council tax.

Revealed by the First Minister at the SNP conference last week, the plan will target people under the age of 26 with about 6,000 to 7,000 people expected to qualify for the exemption.

According to Scottish Government statistics, at least 21% of care leavers become homeless within five years, while they are three times more likely to be unemployed than their peers.

Ypeople CEO Joe Connolly said the announcement was an “extremely positive development” but added that further support is also needed.

He said: “We support care experienced individuals across all our services and, on a daily basis, we see the impact which growing up in care has on youngsters. But, in our homelessness services, we also see the long-term effects it continues to have well into adulthood.

“We also know that, as they grow up, people who have suffered adverse childhood experiences can expect to encounter more problems than the rest of the population.

“Care leavers are less likely to have support from family members and more likely to be vulnerable to homelessness, poor attainment, mental health problems and offending

“The First Minister’s plan is one we wholeheartedly support but, at the same time, I believe it’s important that exemption from council tax is not seen as a handout.

“This move will give care experienced young people a step up and  slightly ease some of the pressures of having to grow up much earlier than many of their peers.

“It’s an excellent first step but with the First Minister having committed last year to an independent, root-and-branch review of the system that supports children in care, we must hope there is more support to come for one of society’s most vulnerable groups.”

Ypeople is an independent registered Scottish charity which provides support to vulnerable groups and individuals including homeless and young people to enable them to adapt to change and improve their quality of life.