In 21-22, according to Centrepoint estimates, 129,000 16–25-year-olds presented at their local authority as homeless or at risk of homelessness. Many young people experiencing homelessness remain hidden, not showing up in the data, so this figure could easily be double. Young people are not adequately supported during an already challenging transition to adulthood. They may be pushed into homelessness due to violence, abuse and trauma at home or in the care or criminal justice system. Required to be socially and financially independent for the first time, they face lower pay and minimum wage jobs in the labour markets, increasing their risk of poverty. With young people disproportionately affected by both the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, action is required now to avoid long term societal repercussion.

In delivering our work to support young people experiencing homelessness, we find they face the same unique barriers:

1. They are often invisible to authorities and services: more likely to be ‘hidden homeless’, sleeping on a friend’s sofa or alternating between different short-term accommodations.

2. They can’t evidence their homelessness, leading to cruel processes like having to approach their former caregiver for written confirmation that they are no longer welcome in their home.

3. Young people are often not seen as priority need or taken seriously or believed when presenting at councils. In 2020-21, Centrepoint found that 44% weren’t assessed when they presented. Many are told to go home even though this may not be a safe option.

4. They don’t know what support is available beyond the family home. Over 50% of young people accessing our centre in London do not approach their local authority, demonstrating a lack of knowledge of their rights.

5. They are subject to age-related discrimination in terms of pay.

6. Young people receive reduced welfare benefit entitlements and are often punished by lowered benefits if they increase work hours despite lower income


7. There is a lack of supply of suitable, affordable and youth appropriate housing. They have no ready guarantor to secure rental housing if family relationships have broken down.

8. They face higher risk of exploitation by not having their needs met.

We’ve joined a collective of over 100 amazing charities across the UK, all of whom work to support young people stay safe, housed and supported. We’re using our shared platforms to call on the government to commit to a strategy to end youth homelessness. We’ve pulled together the recommendations and proven solutions into a policy briefing that can deliver this much needed change.