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National Homeless Advice Service

Housing duties to 16 and 17 year olds

16 and 17 year old homeless applicants must be accepted as in priority need, except for an applicant who is a relevant child, or a child in need to whom a local authority owes a duty to provide accommodation under section 20 of the Children Act 1989.

Some 16 and 17 year olds, for example young parents or young people who already live independently, may prefer to make a homelessness application to the housing authority under the homelessness legislation and/or receive the additional support they require under section 17, rather than section 20, of the Children Act 1989.

These 16 and 17 year olds are in priority need but are not ‘looked after children’. They are not entitled to any support as care leavers after the age of 18.

See Shelter Legal: Homeless 16- and 17-year olds for more information.

See also Supporting young people’s homelessness applications.

Young homeless people aged 18 or over who are not care leavers are treated as adult applicants.