Sadly, research from Just for Kids Law, a UK charity that works with and for children and young people, providing legal representation, advice, direct advocacy and support, has shown that young people are not always housed under the right legislation. This impacts the support they are entitled to in the short and long term and affects both their experiences of homelessness and risk of future homelessness.
It is important that 16-17 year olds are housed under the most appropriate pathway to meet their needs. The systems and legal responsibilities at play, however, are complex and can be hard to navigate. We know this can be challenging, and both young people and frontline workers can experience gatekeeping, receive incorrect information, or get lost in systems.
Homeless Link’s research We have a Voice, Follow our Lead, highlighted that young people want better information, earlier on, and how they value youth and homelessness practitioners who support the through these systems. We have developed this guidance with Just for Kids Law, so workers are equipped with the information needed to support and advocate for the rights of the young people they work with. Alongside a guide to the legal rights of young people, this resource provides information so workers and young people can plan and prepare to present at local authorities.
The decision to seek support through their local authority may be the first significant decision a young person has made, that is not dictated by threats to their own or others safety. This guidance centres a trauma-informed approach that focusses on how to maintain young people’s sense of safety and control.
Young people deserve to have an advocate to help them navigate their homelessness journey. Workers deserve to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to advocate for the young people they support. We hope this resource will help any professional do just that.
Want to know more about our youth homelessness work? Questions or comments on the guidance? We’d love to hear them. Please contant Lauren Page-Hammick.
Read more about Just for Kids’s Law including all their latest news and commentary on their website.