A GROUP of young people from the South Hams are meeting the Government’s housing minister today to explain their plight first-hand.
Housing minister Kris Hopkins requested that the youngsters made a second visit to Westminster to put their case personally, after Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston approached him following a deputation by 14 young people and South Hams councillors in February.
On that occasion, the youngsters were unable to put their case to the minister directly.
They are accompanied today by Cllr Jonathan Hawkins, South Hams executive member for environmental health and housing, and senior housing and enabling officer Debbie Holloway.
Ms Holloway said: “We hope this visit will give the young people the chance to take their experiences, concerns and ideas regarding housing to the heart of government.
“There are significant challenges for young people in the South Hams when it comes to finding somewhere to live.
“Changes to housing benefit, low wages, high rents and a lack of suitable accommodation are all factors in play and we hope the minister will find the meeting useful and productive.”
The young people are planning to talk about: how land can be made available near the town where they can build low-cost eco-homes and grow their own food; the impact of the housing benefit for under-35s being set so low; the plight they find themselves in when local landlords will not allow young people to buddy up to pay for rented accommodation; and seeking the coalition’s help in overcoming this.
Cllr Hawkins said: “The housing minister has very kindly agreed to meet us. This is quite a coup in terms of our young people being given a voice to get across the difficulties they face first-hand putting a roof over their heads in such a high-cost housing area like the South Hams.”