Why young people become homeless

Homelessness is not only a housing problem. There are lots of reasons why a young person could become homeless. 

Family breakdown

Relationship breakdown, usually between young people and their parents or step-parents, is a major cause of youth homelessness. Around six in 10 young people who come to Centrepoint report they had to leave home because of arguments, relationship breakdown or being told to leave. 

Many have experienced long-term problems at home, often involving violence, leaving them without the family support networks that most of us take for granted. Read more about the role of family in the lives of homeless young people in our Family Life report. 

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Complex support needs

Young people who come to Centrepoint face a range of different problems. For example, a third of young people at Centrepoint have a mental health problem. Over a quarter of young people at Centrepoint are also known to use or suspected of using illegal drugs, and 13% have a physical health problem.

These problems often overlap, making it more difficult for young people to access help and increasing the chances of them becoming homeless. Read more about the complex needs of homeless young people in our report, The changing face of youth homelessness.

Deprivation

Young people's chances of having to leave home are higher in areas of high deprivation and poor employment and education prospects. Many of those who experience long spells of poverty can get into problem debt, which makes it harder for them to access housing.

Transitions from care

A fifth of young people at Centrepoint have been in care. They often have little choice but to deal with the challenges and responsibilities of living independently at a young age. 

Traumas faced in their early lives make care leavers some of the most vulnerable young people in our communities, with higher chances of poor outcomes in education, employment and housing. Their additional needs mean they require a higher level of support to maintain their accommodation.

Gang crime

Homeless young people are often affected by gang-related problems. In some cases, it becomes too dangerous to stay in their local area meaning they can end up homeless. One in six young people at Centrepoint have been involved in or affected by gang crime.

Exclusion from school

This can make it much more difficult for young people to access help with problems at home or health problems. Missing out on formal education can also make it more difficult for them to move into work.

Refugees

A third of young people at Centrepoint are refugees or have leave to remain, meaning it isn't safe to return home. This includes young people who come to the UK as unaccompanied minors, fleeing violence or persecution in their own country. After being granted asylum, young people can find themselves with nowhere to go and can end up homeless.

 

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