Homelessness and runaways

A homeless person is someone that has nowhere to live. In the case of young people under 16 they may have been thrown out of home or run away.

Most people that run away from home have not got a plan and the decision is made on the spur of the moment, so usually they are not prepared, have no money, no warm clothing or an idea of where they might get help.

You don’t have to be sleeping on the streets to be homeless – you could be in emergency housing or staying at friends. It’s a frightening, lonely and confusing time and it’s important to know that there is help to make sure you have somewhere safe to live.


Centrepoint offers a range of help to homeless young people such as emergency, short-stay and longer-term hostels, as well as outreach support for young people that live independently in flats or bed sits. Centrepoint also offers help with challenges homeless young people face, such as building a future and getting their life back on track.

The Foyer Federation

The Foyer Federation provides accommodation with opportunity for young people, and a community in which they can grow and thrive. By integrating training and job search, personal support and motivation with a place to live, it provides a bridge to independence and opportunity for young peoples to realise their full potential.

See the links below if you need advice on help about homelessness. All these organisations will be happy to help you and the service is confidential and free. If, for whatever reason, you are struggling with your rent or you’re having housing problems then speak to someone at these organisations or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Organisations that can help

Housemate is primarily for young people and anyone that works in a professional or caring capacity with young people. The website is aimed at young people, so they can learn about housing and homelessness issues. It aims to:

  • Enable young to to leave home successfully and safely,
  • Raise awareness of issues relating to housing and homelessness

Housemate is a division of Shelter, which is the leading provider of housing advice in the UK and the largest homelessness charity. Shelternet is the online division of Shelter and aims to provide clear accessible information for anyone facing a housing problem. The site answers common questions and links you to related sites.

Who can help?


Since ChildLine started in 1986, over 31,000 children and young people have phoned or written to them about running away and being homeless. They have a free telephone number: 0800 1111, or you can find information and advice on their website.

If you do, or someone you know finds themselves homeless as a result of running away from home these following sites will be useful:


Centrepoint is a national charity working to improve the lives of socially excluded, homeless young people. www.centrepoint.org.uk/

The Foyer Federation

The Foyer Federation helps over 10,000 young people every year to escape the “no home, no job, no home” cycle. The Foyer movement is one of the UK’s largest providers of youth housing, and is still growing. See the Foyer Federation website for more information.

Runaway Helpline

A confidential freefone helpline for anyone aged 17 or under who has run away or been forced to leave home or care. Call 0808 800 7070 or email Runaway Helpline via the website at www.runawayhelpline.org.uk

National Youth Homelessness Scheme

A knowledge base to help local authorities prevent and tackle homelessness among young people www.communities.gov.uk/youthhomelessness/

Missing People charity

The Missing People charity offers a lifeline for thousands of people who run away and go missing each year, plus specialist help and support for those left behind.

Other organisations that can help

Visit the Housemate website at http://www.housemate.org.uk/
Visit the Shelternet website at http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice

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