A charity has voiced concern over the growing numbers of homeless teenagers in Inverness. The Highland Homeless Trust
expressed concerns that that the youngsters could fall into drug and alcohol habits.
"The fact there are young 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds on the street is worrying for us and should worry society," said Heather Sheerin, a director of the trust, a charitable organisation set up to prevent homelessness and support those registered as homeless. Fifteen teenagers under the age of 18 were homeless on the streets of the Highland capital in the last week of September, although they all secured overnight temporary accomodation.
The Highland Homeless Trust works to target young people to stop them falling into predatory company. Last year, nearly a quarter of all homeless people said they had been asked to leave home by a family member or friend. Up to 10 people are estimated to be sleeping rough on any given night in Inverness.
The latest figures from Inverness council show 1,063 people registered as homeless between April 2007 and March 2008; that's nearly half of all homeless people in the Highlands. Most are individuals rather than couples or families. Homelessness across the Highlands has increased by more than 10 per cent in the last four years and nearly 150 per cent since 2001.