The impact of youth homelessness

Being homeless is complex and a very different experience for every young person we support.

Young people have different issues and needs to adults, so there are many reasons why they can become homeless. It's often because it's not safe for them to stay at home, or family life has become too hard. 

Homelessness, no matter how short, can have long-term and life-changing effects on those who experience it. For young people, experiencing such instability at a crucial and evolving time in their lives can have repercussions for years to come.  

The effects of homelessness 

At risk and exhausted

No home, no bed, no security and no stability – being homeless is exhausting and affects every part of a vulnerable young person’s life. No wonder they take risks to find somewhere to sleep. 

Mental health

The physical toll of sleeping outside is one issue, but sleeping on a bus or ever-changing network of sofas and floors can be just as challenging. Mental health issues like depression, anxiety or anorexia are easily made worse under these conditions. 

Poor health and nutrition

Homeless young people often don’t have access to enough affordable, nutritious food. 60% of young people in our services told us they had skipped meals, slept hungry and eaten less because they couldn’t afford to eat. 

Finding a job

Youth unemployment in the UK is still almost three times higher than the rest of the population. Getting into work is particularly tough for disadvantaged young people facing extra challenges in their lives. 

Disrupted education

A disrupted education is a common issue for homeless young people that drastically affects their chances of achieving qualifications. And without education or training, it’s even harder to find sustainable employment. 

Violence and abuse

Young people out on the streets are often victims of assault or verbal abuse. These experiences, and fear of them, leave many young people feeling very vulnerable while rough sleeping.   

Help young people have life-saving conversations 

It’s good to talk. Last year, The Centrepoint Helpline supported 6,877 young people with advice about their rights, emotional support and access to supported housing. 

But with over 129,000 homeless young people approaching their local council for help last year, there are still many more we need to reach. 

Help us expand the Centrepoint Helpline so we can have more crucial conversations with vulnerable young people. 

Donate now