Young man looking over to the side.


If you know a young person who needs help with housing, this guide will help you find them the right support.

I've seen a young person sleeping rough on the streets. How can I help?

You might want to think about just stopping to talk. Rough sleeping can be an isolating, devastating experience and you might be the first person they have spoken to for ages. A quick chat could make all the difference.

You can also help someone who is rough sleeping by contacting StreetLink. They will need you to describe:

  • what the person looks like
  • what they are wearing
  • where they are sleeping

StreetLink will send this information to the outreach teams in the borough. Outreach workers go out during the late night/early morning to try to find anyone who is on their list.

If an outreach worker finds someone on their referral list, they will give them something called a ‘chain’ number. They can use the chain number to access other help. If there is room in a rough sleeper hub, outreach workers would try to get them a bed space straight away.

Day centres

Day centres support people who are homeless or vulnerably housed. They are safe warm places to go during the day. They usually offer free food, showers and laundry facilities. They can often help with other things too like benefit claims and referrals into emergency accommodation.

Use Homeless Link to look for a day centre in your area >

Many homeless young people will have a phone but they may not have credit. This makes things harder. For example, they can’t call a day centre to find out what time they serve breakfast. They may also find it difficult to get to that support because they don’t have travel money. If you’re able, loading someone’s phone credit or Oyster card could make a massive difference.

If someone appears to be in immediate danger or seems unwell, please call 999.

I know a young person who is homeless. What can I do?

It takes a lot for a young person to share their situation with you.

Having a trusted friend there for support can be a real lifeline.  You can support them by:

  • Communicating their situation to the local council and other agencies
  • Making calls and attending appointments with them
  • Helping them with forms
  • Where you’re able, advocating on their behalf 

If you have a young person staying with you, then you are already offering a real lifeline.

My child can't stay with me anymore. What can they do?

If you need your child to move out, they will need time to plan what to do.

If they’re over 18, they can make a homeless application at your local council. Councils can only offer accommodation to people who are eligible, homeless and in priority need.

Read how to make a homeless application >

The council will ask your child why they can’t go home, and may want to speak to you. They may also suggest family mediation to help improve relationships at home.

If your child is under 18, it’s a bit different. They’re still considered a child in the eyes of the law and children’s services at your local council has a legal duty to support them.  Children’s services may offer family mediation here too to help improve relationships at home or look for another family member they can live with. If there is no one who can act as a parent then the council should provide them with somewhere to live. This may be in a hostel or foyer or with foster carers. 

How can I help a homeless person over 25?

The first step would be for them to make a homeless application at the council. You can support someone to do this by helping them gather together the documents they will need, attending appointments with them if you feel able or simply providing moral support.

Read how to make a homeless application >

They may be able to get support from a day centre. Use Homeless Link to look for a day centre in your area >

They may also need to get legal advice. Search for your nearest law centre here >

Can I refer a young person to Centrepoint?

Centrepoint supports homeless young people aged 16-25 in London, Manchester, Barnsley, Bradford and Sunderland.

To get a place in a Centrepoint hostel, a young person needs a local connection to an area where we have accommodation and the local council will need to refer them.

Local councils offer different types of accommodation to young people who are homeless. We can’t guarantee you will get referred to Centrepoint.

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

Want advice over the phone?

If you're worried about a homeless young person, the Centrepoint Helpline is here to support you.

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

The Centrepoint Helpline team

Chat to us online

Our dedicated Helpline advisors are available to chat online Monday to Friday between 10am-4pm. If webchat is closed, please leave us a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Please note we need your agreement to hold the personal data you provide. We'll hold your data securely for two years and delete it after this time.

Spread the word

Do you work with vulnerable young people who are at risk of homelessness? Help them find the right support by printing off our flyer.