Homelessness shadowed the lives of dozens of people who left care or institutions over the last year.

Data released by the former Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government shows in the year to March, Blackburn with Darwen council owed homelessness support to 54 households where the main applicant had left an institution with no settled accommodation to return to.

Councillor Julie Gunn, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “In Blackburn with Darwen we have an incredibly supportive and robust support system for our young people leaving care provided by our dedicated Leaving care team. At the moment, 99 per cent of our care leavers have suitable accommodation to go to.

“All young people leaving care in the borough are given housing support if they request it and this carries on up to the age of 25.

“This report highlights the issues of young people leaving various institutions including prisons and hospitals and it is not clear from this what help and support has been requested by these particular care leavers. We do work with the probation service to support people with accommodation if this is the request.

“Some of our care leavers do of course find accommodation elsewhere such as private rentals and at university. There are currently 20 young people at universities around the country who were previously in care in the borough which is really positive."

Separate figures show 7,100 households in the country who needed help securing accommodation last year had the main applicant listed as a care leaver. In Blackburn with Darwen, there were 23 households in this situation – five more than in 2019-20.

The Care Leavers' Association estimates around one in 10 care leavers struggle to secure housing, with the remainder often living in unsuitable homes.

Director David Graham said: “If your head is still messed up about why you had to go into care, then you are less likely to be able to keep and manage your own accommodation and life.”

He added care leavers should be given priority access to housing.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive, said: “If we are to give people the best chance at a life, then we really need to see all services working together to put plans in place to help people move on.”

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, extra Government funding was allocated to take 37,000 rough sleepers off the streets, while funding is also being given to councils to prevent homelessness.