Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Find your safety net

July 01 2019
Who helps when you’re suddenly homeless? Report by Nicola Baird

Need to know

  • Centrepoint found that 103,000 young people during 2017-18 asked their local council for somewhere to stay because they were homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • Some young people are at higher risk of homelessness: 27% were BME, 22% were from the care system 7% were LGBTQ+. (Young & Homeless 2018, Homeless Link)
  • Nearly half of young people end up homeless because their relationship breaks down with their family or care-giver.

Who helps when you’re suddenly homeless? Report by Nicola Baird

Although there is support for young people who become homeless, it can be hard to find. One contributor to the Young & Homeless 2018 report by Homeless Link suggests, “I think they just get a bit lost.”

The shock of being newly homeless combined with the lack of affordable housing, lack of supported accommodation and changes to benefits means that young people might first try staying with friends, sofa surfing and worse. Regrettably numbers seem to be rising as the report found there had been a 28% increase in young women sleeping rough in their local area and a 45% increase in young men. So, what will help you?

If you’ve fallen out with family or a care giver, mediation can help. Sometimes this is offered by schools and colleges. Lessons in life skills, healthy relationships and mental health support can also help.

The good news is that the Homelessness Reduction Act obliges councils to help anyone who presents as homeless or at risk of being homeless. The council should be able to refer you to a safe place to sleep, especially important if you are under 18.

If you are 18+ and just need somewhere safe to stay tonight try Nightstop. This is a charity which offers temporary home stays with trained volunteers. It means that you don’t have to spend even one night in an unsafe space. Nicola Harwood, who is head of Nightstop, says: “We’d like the Pavement readers to know that we try not to make it feel daunting going to stay with a stranger, we take your safety really serious. All our volunteers go through a rigorous training process before a young person is put with them.”

Another charity, Centrepoint, supports 10,000 homeless young people nationwide each year. It offers advice, places to stay and training. To this day people wrongly think the Centre Point building on Tottenham Court Road used to house young homeless people. This would be even more ironic (though untrue) as it has recently been converted into 82 deluxe apartments with the cheapest one-bed flat selling for £1.8 million. In fact, the charity's name was inspired by the massive tower block in a wicked bid to both confuse the postman and annoy the towerblock’s original owner.

  • Centrepoint offers advice to anyone in England aged 16–25.
  • Call 0808 800 0661 (Mon–Fri 9am–5pm)

Aged 18–25?
Need somewhere to sleep tonight?