SHOCK new figures have revealed the extent of youth homelessness in the district.

According to Centrepoint, Bradford district has 611 per cent more young people homeless – or at risk of homelessness – than the national average.

And the charity warns that the situation will worsen as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In its annual youth homelessness databank report, Centrepoint says 2,050 young people approached Bradford Council for support because they were homeless – or at risk of homelessness – in 2018/2019.

Of those, 488 – nearly a quarter – were offered some form of prevention or relief.

The percentage of people aged between 16 and 24 in the district who are homeless, or at risk of it, stands at 3.2 per cent.

Centrepoint says the coronavirus crisis is putting more pressure on local authorities as demand for services increases, and financial resources are further stretched.

A helpline run by the charity has already taken calls from young people who have become homeless directly due to the outbreak.

Seyi Obakin, for Centrepoint, said: “The Government is repeatedly telling everyone to stay at home – but that is simply not possible for some of the country’s most vulnerable young people.

“Alongside the common causes of youth homelessness, we are already hearing from young people who have been evicted from accommodation tied to their work or who have been forced to leave where they were staying as the people they live with wish to self-isolate. What happens when a young person has nowhere else to go is crucial.

“In the middle of an unprecedented pandemic, we must not get into a situation where housing offices are closing their doors and no alternative provision is in place to help those needing their support. The Government is already stepping-up support for homeless young people but it needs to go further.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration, planning and transport, said: “Bradford Council is continuing to ensure the most vulnerable people in our district, including homeless people, are supported during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Our Housing Options service is, as usual, housing people with priority need and all rough sleepers are being offered accommodation. In the district there are 21 rough sleepers who have accepted offers of accommodation, however there is a small number who have refused accommodation and our Homeless Outreach Partnership team is still engaging with them to offer the support they need.”

Centrepoint’s helpline can be contacted on 0808 800 0661. People can also call Bradford Housing Options on 01274 435999 or 01274 381999.