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National Homeless Advice Service

Supporting young people’s homelessness applications

Young people’s homelessness applications and how advisers can support a young person in making an application.

How advisers of young people can help

Interview the young person about their situation

Before the young person approaches the local authority, talk to them to try to ascertain whether they are homeless, eligible, have a priority need, may be intentionally homelessness, and have a local connection. This helps the:

  • young person know what to expect the local authority to ask about when they approach it, and why they are being asked about it
  • adviser to identify potential problems with the application and advise the young person accordingly
  • adviser to advise the young person about the probable outcome of their application and their options depending on that outcome.

Help the young person to gather evidence

Evidence should prove or suggest that the young person is homeless, eligible, and have a priority need, where relevant. Although it is the local authority’s duty to make enquiries to establish this, having evidence often helps to get an application taken and for the authority to provide interim accommodation.

Contact the local authority on the young person’s behalf

The local authority may be less likely to try to refuse to take an application if an adviser contacts the authority on behalf of the applicant.

Write to the local authority

If the young person is having difficulty making an application or explaining their situation to the local authority, the adviser can write a supporting letter which the young person can take with them.

Letter - Standard letter for making a homelessness application.

Local authority refuses to take the application or provide interim accommodation

Sometimes local authorities refuse to take an application or provide interim accommodation for one reason or another. This is illegal. If this happens, the young person should be referred to a specialist housing solicitor who can consider issuing judicial review proceedings against the authority.

Be prepared

Keep details of the local authority’s out of hours emergency service and have the telephone details available to give to a young person who may require it.

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Sample letters

Advisers can adapt template letters to advocate on behalf of young people.

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