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National Homeless Advice Service

Work in schools and youth services

Working with schools, academies, youth services and other places where young people tend to go offers a valuable opportunity to prevent homelessness.

Local authority approaches

  • raising awareness - the realities of moving out of the family home
  • myth busting - tackling misconceptions about benefits and state support
  • managing expectations about housing - for example, availability of social housing and how allocation policies work
  • explaining where to get help if things become very difficult at home.

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Housing and homelessness in the curriculum

The success rate for getting access to schools to deliver these sessions varies from school to school. Academies are sometimes more flexible in terms of access, as they do not have to follow the national curriculum. For schools that are following the national curriculum, the personal, social and health education (PSHE) element is usually where housing and homelessness is covered.

Given the pressures on time for teachers and schools, it can be helpful for a local authority to make a case for why a session on housing and homelessness would be useful. Schools might be interested in statistics showing how many of their pupils have come to the council for help with housing issues or homelessness over a year, and to see evidence of links between this and academic achievement.

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Young people not attending mainstream school

Young people at high risk of homelessness may not be attending mainstream school. You may be able to reach them by running sessions in places where they are known to spend time - youth clubs, Pupil Referral Units or via Youth Offending Teams, family support centres etc - to explain the realities of homelessness and provide signposting advice about where to go if there is a potential risk of homelessness.

If it is sensitively handled, this sort of work can also help to identify children who may benefit from additional individual work - such as mentoring or more intensive intervention with the young person and their family.

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