ARE YOU HOMELESS, SOFA SURFING OR AT RISK?

A homeless young person.

ADVICE IF YOU'RE UNDER 18

It’s a bit different if you need help with housing and under 18. The law says you’re still a child even though you may be going through lots of different things and feel grown up.

It's important to know that because you are under 18, children’s services at your local council have a legal duty to make sure you have somewhere safe to live.

You should contact children’s services at your local council as soon as you can. You can find the address and phone number for your local council here. You will need to ask to be put through to children’s services.

This can feel scary but they are there to protect you. If you are at school or college, you could speak to a teacher another adult you trust who could support you with this or speak up on your behalf.

There are certain things that children’s services must do:

  • Provide emergency accommodation if you need it
  • Assess your situation and draw up a personal housing plan
  • Refer you for a 'child in need' assessment

You should not be left without anywhere to stay if you're under 18 and homeless.

Children’s services may offer family mediation to help improve relationships at home or look for another family member you can live with. If there is no one who can act as a parent for you or you are experiencing abuse at home, then the council should provide you with somewhere to live. This may be in a hostel or foyer or with a foster carer. When making decisions about this, Children’s services should listen to you and take your wishes into account as much possible.

Some young people tell us they don’t want to contact children’s services and that they would rather live independently. While you’re under 18, it’s unlikely you will be able to find a landlord to rent a property to you. If you do accept help from children’s services, it can help protect your future as it may mean that they have to support you until you are 25.

If you do want help from children’s services and you feel they are not listening to you or not helping, you can speak to an advocacy service. This means an organisation that works to make sure that young people get the support they are entitled to.

You can get confidential support from Childline on 0800 1111. The call is free.

Centrepoint's homeless support services. Call our Helpline if you are ever in need of support.

Want advice over the phone?

If you're rough sleeping, sofa surfing or don't feel safe in your home, The Centrepoint Helpline is here to support you. We can support you and give you help with housing if you're at risk of being homeless. 

Call us free on 0808 800 0661 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm).

The Centrepoint Helpline team

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