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National Homeless Advice Service

The case for making early interventions

Intervening early to prevent young people becoming homeless is an essential part of local authority homelessness strategies.

Time to move out?

By the time a young person reaches 16, families under stress may see living apart as the best - or only - solution. For some young people, moving out of the family home may well offer safety, security and well-being as they move into adult life.

But for most, moving out is hugely disruptive and potentially damaging, both in terms of moving on to independent adulthood, and their long-term relationships with their family. As a local authority, you should work towards longer periods of transition, rather than making statutory interventions at times of crisis.

Taking a strategic approach should help families and children adjust to increasing independence and maturity, and make informed decisions about whether - and when - to begin living separately.

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Breakdowns in relationships

Research carried out by Homeless Link has shown that relationship breakdowns between young people and their families and carers are the biggest single factors in triggering homelessness among young people.

Strategies to prevent homelessness among young people should therefore:

  • reach young people and their families before stresses on their relationship become intolerable
  • address perceptions among young people and their families about viable alternatives to living in the same house
  • address the realities of homelessness
  • combine different interventions to support families and young people in managing the stresses they are experiencing while living together.

This section looks at some of the approaches that local authorities and their partners are taking to prevent homelessness among young people.

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