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National Homeless Advice Service

Accessing services

Sometimes a young person may have no option but to leave the family home, despite efforts to help them stay there and to avoid becoming homeless.

If this happens, local authorities and other statutory services may have a duty to help them. An assessment must be carried out of their need for accommodation and support, with the eventual aim of the young person moving into independent accommodation when they are ready to do so.

This section is for local authorities who have statutory responsibilities under the Children Act 1989 and/or under the Housing Act 1996. It looks at how they can make sure that young people who are homeless or are threatened with homelessness receive a response which is appropriate and is in their best interests.

Why have a joint protocol?

Government guidance makes it clear that services for homeless 16 and 17 year olds must be underpinned by written joint protocols that set out clear, practical arrangements.

What makes a 'good' joint protocol?

We look at a key piece of research that has established five key criteria for operating effective joint working protocols.

What works

This section describes joint working models, and outlines what you need to cover at each stage from dealing with initial enquiries to providing post-assessment advice.

Making it happen

How to make sure that the way young people access your services meets statutory requirements, plus tips on getting partners involved and measuring effectiveness.

Peer learning examples

Find out what other authorities and their partners are doing to help young people access help and support, and manage the referral and assessment process effectively.

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