Violence, abuse, family breakdown and problems with mental health: young people often become homeless because it’s safer to leave home than to stay.
According to our research, 110,000 young people asked for help with homelessness last year - this needs to change.
Being homeless means not having a safe place to call home. We know thousands of young people sleep rough every night, but there are thousands more sleeping on sofas, floors, night buses or with strangers. These are the “hidden homeless”.
On Christmas Day, Josh went to hospital with chronic pain, where he was diagnosed with sciatica. To make matters worse, a relative came to visit him and told him he couldn’t go home.
There are lots of reasons why young people become homeless.
Relationship breakdown, usually between young people and their parents (or step-parents), is a major cause of youth homelessness. Around six in 10 young people who come to Centrepoint say they had to leave home because of arguments, relationship breakdown or being told to leave.
Young people who come to Centrepoint face a range of different, complex problems. More than a third have a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety, and another third are tackling issues with substance misuse. A similar amount need to improve their physical health.
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.
More than a quarter of young people at Centrepoint have been in care. They often have little 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 14 per cent of young people at Centrepoint are refugees. This includes young people who have come to the UK as unaccompanied minors, fleeing violence or persecution in their own country. After being granted asylum, young people sometimes find themselves with nowhere to go and end up on the streets.
Homeless young people are often affected by gang-related problems. In some cases, it becomes too dangerous to stay in their local area, meaning they can end up homeless.
Without knowing the full picture, how can we end youth homelessness?
There is no accurate source of information on the scale of youth homelessness in the UK – that’s why we’ve created the Youth Homelessness Databank.
The best way to protect young people from the devastating impact of homelessness is to stop it from happening at all.
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