Somewhere to Call Home: improving young people’s access to affordable housing

Our report shows that when homeless young people are ready to move on and live independently, they’re being held back by the housing crisis. We are calling on the government to build more safe and affordable housing to break the cycle of homelessness and provide young people with safety and stability.

Executive summary

Over the last few years, young people’s access to affordable, safe and secure housing has been limited by factors that constrain development, reduce allocations and decrease affordability. However, young people continue to aspire to access affordable, safe and secure housing in the social rented sector. This is because it can act as a catalyst for them to follow their goals and live meaningful lives. This research explores the housing aspirations of young people with experiences of homelessness, and examines how young people can be supported to access social housing in England. In doing this, the research investigates the role of contemporary registered housing providers, the importance of preparing young people to live independently and approaches to unblocking housing pathways.

Key findings and recommendations


  • The young people participating understood that social housing was the most affordable option on the market. And they valued the security and safety that social housing can provide.
  • The young people understood that a stable home could provide them with opportunities to think in the long term and set future goals.
  • Participants from local authorities and housing associations highlighted that issues such as high demand for services, the age of housing stock and diminished funding had reduced their capacity to support young people.
  • Young people with experiences of homelessness often need support to prepare them to move into independent accommodation. Participants highlighted that this support should be empowering and aimed at building confidence and capacity.
  • Young single people can experience a double disparity of reduced allocations and access to a limited pool of one bedroom and studio social housing.


Provide more social housing to vulnerable young people by:

  1. Building more one bedroom and studio social housing.

  2. Asking local authorities to allocate more social housing to vulnerable young people.

Develop more innovative housing solutions for vulnerable young people by:

  1. Providing more funding and support to organisations, such as Centrepoint, St Basil’s and YMCA England and Wales, who are developing innovative schemes aimed at housing homeless young people.

Strengthen the benefits system for young people by:

  1. Empowering vulnerable young people living in supported housing to access employment and gain work experiences.
  2. Providing under 25’s living independently with the same Universal Credit rate received by over 25s.

Reduce local authority gatekeeping by:

  1. Creating clearer guidance for council’s detailing their statutory obligations to vulnerable young people so that they do not use factors such as local connection and intentionality to remove support.