Young people

Young people between 16 and 25 are at greater risk of homelessness, particularly those leaving care, and are more vulnerable when they are homeless. They can be at risk of homelessness for a number of reasons, including a lack of life-skills and relationship breakdowns with their families. However, lots of work is being done to prevent and tackle youth homelessness across the country.


Centrepoint's Youth Homelessness Index identified eight risk or trigger factors that make young people vulnerable to homelessness and/or directly cause them to become homeless:

  • unemployment and socioeconomic marginalisation
  • experience of/leaving local authority care
  • family disruption in childhood, especially after age 3
  • experience of living with a step parent, particularly for young men
  • experience of parental neglect, abuse or violence
  • strained relationships and relationship breakdown with parents and step-parents
  • reliance on insecure accommodation settings, such as staying with friends or relatives
  • being asked to leave or being thrown out of the parental home.

Levels of homelessness among young people

Homeless Link's Young and Homeless report draws together findings from a survey of homelessness agencies and local authority housing options teams in November 2011 to investigate the extent of and nature of youth homelessness in England. 

We have also published a short briefing with key statistics on young people and homelessness.

responding to homeless young people 

On 1 April 2010 DCSF and CLG published revised statutory guidance for children's services authorities and local housing authorities about their respective duties under Part 3 of the Children Act 1989 and Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 to secure or provide accommodation for homeless 16 and 17 year old children, following the judgment by the House of Lords in the case of R(G) v London Borough of Southwark (2009). View the guidance here.

For full information on duties towards homeless 16 and 17 year olds, see the Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities (2006).

In 2010, Shelter produced a new film on the rights of homeless 16 and 17 year olds. View it here.

In 2010 Homeless Link and Centrepoint produced a joint briefing about how Local Authorities and ther partners can ensure young people who are homeless receive the support they are entitled to around Education and Training.


In January 2011, Inside Housing published research into how local authority housing departments and social services are working together to support homeless 16 and 17 year olds.

The National Youth Homelessness Scheme (NYHS) is the knowledge base for local authorities and their partners in preventing and tackling youth homelessness.

The Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) has launched a new microsite for integrated working, offering a range of free resources to help practitioners work together. This includes tools and guidance such as:

  • Common assessment framework - a process that enables practitioners and volunteers to identify each young person's needs, and who is best placed to deliver support and develop a tailored action plan to meet those needs
  • Guidance for the lead professional / practitioner - the person who co-ordinates all activity and becomes a single point of contact for everyone involved, especially the child or young person
  • Guidance on information sharing - practical advice and guidance on appropriate ways to share information
  • Workbook and training materials to introduce practitioners and volunteers to integrated working.