The causes of youth homelessness

The common causes of youth homelessness include family breakdown, leaving care, exclusion from school, gang crime, escaping violence and mental health issues.

Every year, the number of young people needing support is increasing, and this year we estimate that 130,000 young people with be at risk of or will experience homelessness. The reasons young people experience homelessness will be vast, but one thing is for sure: the system is broken, and we can’t carry on this way. 

What are the common causes of youth homelessness? 

Family breakdown

Relationship breakdown, usually between young people and their parents (or step-parents), is a major cause of youth homelessness. Around 58% of young people who come to Centrepoint say they had to leave home because of arguments or a relationship breakdown. 

Leaving care

Roughly 38% of young people at Centrepoint have been in care. They often have no choice but to deal with the challenges and responsibilities of living independently at a young age. Traumas faced in early life makes care leavers some of the most vulnerable young people in our communities. 


Around 6% of Centrepoint residents are refugees, and roughly 20% are asylum seekers. This includes young people who have come to the UK as unaccompanied minors, fleeing violence or persecution in their own country. With no family around, young people sometimes find themselves with nowhere to go and end up on the streets. 

Exclusion from school

Not being in education can make it far more difficult for young people to access help with problems at home or health issues. Missing out on formal education can also make it more difficult for them to move into work. 

Gang crime

Young people can often experience homelessness after facing gang-related problems. It can become too dangerous to stay in their local area, meaning they can end up with nowhere safe to stay. 

Escaping violence

Needing to escape a hostile environment can leave young people on the streets with nowhere to turn.  

Physical and mental health

Young people who use Centrepoint’s services will often face a range of different, complex issues. More than one-third experience mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, whilst another third are tackling problems with substance misuse.  

Find out how we're ending youth homelessness 

Together we can tackle the crisis of youth homelessness today and end it for generations to come. Here’s how we do it.

Ending youth homelessness

Get the facts about youth homelessness 

Without knowing the full picture, how can we end youth homelessness? 

There is no accurate source of truth on the scale of youth homelessness in the UK – that’s why we’ve created the Youth Homelessness Databank. 

Access the Youth Homelessness Databank

Are you a young person experiencing homelessness? 

We know it can be scary trying to deal with homelessness alone. Contact our Centrepoint Helpline, where one of our friendly advisors can help you figure out what to do next. Or take a look at our dedicated pages for young people, where you can find advice on everything from housing to finances.  

I need help