At least 75,000 young people experienced youth homelessness in 2006/2007. Being homeless does not have to mean that you are sleeping on the streets. Many young people survive by ‘sofa surfing’; staying with family or friends but moving around each night so as not to overstay your welcome. Other young people’s relationships with the parents might have broken down to such an extent that they cannot stay with their family any more, or there may be reasons why it is not safe for a young person to stay in the family home. Another frequent issue that young people encounter is the possibility of being homeless upon their release from custody.
At JfK Law we realise that youth homelessness is a significant problem and lack of stable accommodation is often linked to offending behaviour. Local authority social services departments have a duty to accommodate homeless young people under the age of 18, which they frequently do not comply with for a variety of reasons. Our Community Care Solicitor can support young people in ensuring that they are provided with suitable accommodation by local authorities to ensure that they have long term accommodation. Where necessary we can step in swiftly to ensure that a young person is provided with suitable accommodation on an urgent basis.
When a young person turns 18, the situation becomes slightly more complicated depending on the young person’s previous care history. Where appropriate, our Community Care Solicitor will pursue action against the local authority social services department to ensure they provide accommodation until such time as mainstream housing can be accessed. If that is not an option. In turn our Youth Advocate assists young people in accessing mainstream housing and has built up good relationships with a number of housing solicitors that we can signpost young people to if appropriate.
Read examples of our work here
We have seen an increasing number of young people who need support with their housing. All of these young people are vulnerable but a challenging aspect of our work has been supporting young people who are not seen as priority need, nor are they owed any duty from children’s services. We have been building links with organisations that provide emergency accommodation to young people so that we are able to respond to crisis situations in a manner that keeps young people safe and supported. We are keen to hear from any organisations that provide such services please contact us.
If you would like to refer a young person to any of our programmes please contact us directly.