Young People and Homelessness
Homeless doesn’t always mean rough sleeping, if you are staying with a friend or moving around between friends, this is also homeless. You don’t need to be street homeless to get help. If you are out all night or sleeping in the street, we’d like to be able to link you with some good quality support as soon as possible.
In the first instance you must contact your local council to make a homeless application, see below the details of the councils across North Devon. In North Devon they have a dedicated young people’s housing officer and in Torridge they have Streetwise which is delivered by Encompass Southwest. Your local council should make an appointment for a housing officer to interview you. This should be on the same day if you have nowhere to stay that night. Otherwise they may ask you to come back on a different day. Some councils might ask you to complete an online form first.
Tips for approaching your council
- Find out when the housing office opens and try to get there early. Choose a day when you have no other appointments as you’ll probably need to wait to be seen.
- Remember you’re entitled to make a homeless application and you shouldn’t be turned away without the opportunity to make one.
- Ask for, and keep a note of, the name, phone number and email address of the housing officer you talk to.
- Before you leave, try to make sure you are clear about what will happen next.
- If you can, take a friend or a trusted adult with you for support, if you do not have anyone then we can arrange for one of our adviser on The Junction project to attend with you.
What to take with you, if possible
- Identification: ID card, driving licence, birth certificate or passport
- Evidence you’re homeless: eviction letter from your landlord or a letter from the person you were living with explaining that you can no longer stay there
- Proof of your income: wage slips, bank statements or proof of benefit claim
- Evidence of any medical conditions: for example, a letter from your GP
- Proof of immigration status: If you are subject to immigration control you will need to take proof of your immigration status
Having these with you will help things go more smoothly, but if you need urgent help and don’t have all the documents, don’t worry – go anyway and sort out the paperwork as soon as you can.
What happens during a homeless application?
A brief chat with someone at the main desk or reception is not making a homeless application. It should involve speaking with a housing officer who has to look into five specific things:
- If you’re eligible: if you’re a British citizen, then you are eligible. If not, this doesn’t automatically exclude you but you might need more specialist advice.
- If you’re homeless: you need to prove this if you can for example by taking a letter from the person you have been staying with
- If you’re intentionally homeless: this means if you have done something, or failed to do something which made you homeless. Please note that being kicked out by parents or fleeing abuse is not intentionally homeless.
- If you’re in priority need: this includes pregnant women, people with quite serious mental or physical health needs, some people who have been in care and people who may be vulnerable for some other reason. It can be hard to talk about your personal situation and history, but it’s really important that you give the council a full picture of your situation and why you need support.
- If you have a local connection to the area: this means having lived there for 6 of the last 12 months, 3 of the last 5 years, have a permanent job or immediate family in the area.
If the council decides you’re eligible, homeless and in priority need, then they must offer you temporary accommodation immediately. If they need more time to assess your situation but think you may be in priority need, they must still offer you emergency accommodation which is likely to be for 30 days.
Even if you are not in priority need the council still has a duty to help relieve your homelessness. This is because of something called the Homelessness Reduction Act.
This is a change to the law which came into force in April 2018. Anyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness can get support regardless of whether they are intentionally homeless or in priority need. Your local council should work with you to complete a personalised housing plan.
The personalised housing plan will set out the steps that you and the council must take so that you can stay in or find suitable accommodation. We know this can be a really scary process and our experienced youth outreach team at The Junctioncan support you with this and much more, for example if you do not want to go down the housing route and instead would like to be considered for foster care then we can talk you through your options.
Centre Point Helpline Call free on 0808 800 0661 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm).