Actor Michael Sheen has attracted more than 17,000 signatures after launching a petition to help homeless teenagers in Wales.
The 46-year-old Welsh actor is hoping to help 16 and 17-year-olds in Wales who are housed in bed and breakfasts by local authorities.
He wrote: “Scared, frightened, abandoned and hungry is how many describe the experience of being put into bed and breakfasts. In the worst cases young people have reported sexual assault after being put into rooms with no locks in a house full of strangers.”
The petition has attracted 17,038 signatures so far. At 10,000 signatures, a petitioner is entitled to a response from the national government, while 100,000 means the issue will be considered for a debate in Parliament.
But Sheen is calling on the Welsh Government and National Assembly to stop putting homeless teenagers into bed and breakfast accommodation – without exceptions.
In the petition, he wrote: “Government guidance in England says teenagers should never be put into B&Bs. In a recent debate in the Welsh Assembly officials said they would look again at the guidance local authorities are given here.
“If people across Wales come together on this issue, we can convince the Welsh Government to make the change needed.
“All we are asking for is that homeless teenagers have a place of safety, a shower, a hot meal and someone to talk to. I don’t think it’s too much to ask of our Government this Christmas. Please sign my petition.”
He cited research from charity End Youth Homelessness Cymru, which says local authorities place around 100 16 and 17-year-olds into unsuitable B&Bs every year, with the number rising.