Youth homelessness - accommodation options and finance

Where the young person cannot stay at home or it is deemed unsafe for them to do so, there are some alternatives to consider.


If you have told your child/young person to leave and they have nowhere else to go they will have to go to any agency (i.e. Housing, Children's Services, Inspira etc) in their area to ask for help.

The Agency will follow the protocol to get in touch with the relevant person and possibly make a referral to a service called 'Nightstop'.  Nightstop works with homeless young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who find they have nowhere to stay that night. 

The project aims to offer emergency accommodation in the homes of volunteer 'hosts' who provide a safe environment along with an evening meal, breakfast and washing facilities.  You can view the host profiles here.  It is not guaranteed that each young person will be accepted to use Nightstop; they must go through a thorough risk assessment before being considered.

There are no supported accommodation options available for young people who are under 16.  However, if they are 16+, they can apply for supported accommodation, if they are unable to remain in the family home or within the wider family network.  Remember, supported accommodation is ONLY for young people who are homeless, have nowhere else to go and could not manage living alone without support.  If they have nowhere to stay 'that night' there are details of emergency accommodation below.

Supported Accommodation is a housing scheme which offers accommodation, support and training as a package.  It is designed to allow people to live independently while teaching them independent living skills, such as cooking, cleaning, paying bills etc. 

Supported Accommodation is meant for VULNERABLE young people who are homeless, genuinely have nowhere else to go and who would not manage living on their own so would require support.

In Barrow, if your young person is 16 and still on role at school (i.e. in their final year), they have to wait until the third Friday in June to apply for Project John, which is the only supported accommodation provider in Barrow.

Young People are offered support in managing their tenancy by being allocated a support worker and a recognised City and Guilds Tenancy Training qualification.  If they succeed, their council banding may increase when they turn 18 and wish to bid for council properties.

More information on supported accommodation providers in your area.

Homestays is a home environment for young people aged 16-25.  Young people stay in the homes of providers who provide support of 7 to 10 hours per week with a view to teaching independent living skills.  If you are interested in finding out more and about whether your young person may be eligible for a Homestays placement, check out the Homestays page.

If it's a private tenancy your young person will need to consider a deposit, which is usually one month's rent plus another month's rent in advance. 

Utility bills such as gas, electricity, water rates, TV licence and council tax, not to mention food, will have to take priority and will take up the majority of their money; if not all of it!  After all this, they won't be left with much general spending money.

The Housing Team at your local Council office is a good starting point to find information on renting in the private sector.  Contact details for each area below:

Allerdale Borough Council

Barrow Borough Council

Carlisle City Council

Copeland Borough Council

Eden District Council

South Lakeland District Council

To live in Supported Accommodation or private/Council tenancies can be expensive, as outlined above.  A young person can make a claim for benefit but there are rules and restrictions about this and not everybody is eligible. 

Also if their benefit claim is successful they have to stick to the strict rules or they could be 'Sanctioned', which means their money can stop for a period of time, causing problems with their rent, bills etc and affecting their tenancy. 

If a young person ends up being evicted from their accommodation it may prevent them from accessing other accommodation in the future. 

Remember; you are responsible for your child/young person... If it's safe and appropriate to do so, it's always best for the young person to stay at home.  Whatever happens, they will need your help and support.