Leaving home as a young person

When to leave home is a major decision which should not be taken lightly. Although leaving home will grant you more freedom, it also means you'll have responsibilities that you have probably not had to deal with before.

The best way to leave home is after careful thought and planning. Leaving your parental home at a very young age, especially if you have nowhere to go, should be the very last option that you should consider. You could easily end up homeless.

You won't be entitled to a council home and you may have to find a deposit and rent in advance for a home in the private sector.

When a young person approaches the council as homeless due to a family relationship breakdown, it's procedure for our visiting officer to make a call to the home and try best to mediate between you and your family.

The GOV.UK website provides information about help with housing costs for 18-21 year olds.

For more help and advice, ring the Housing Solutions advice line on 020 7525 4140

Explore your options first

When you're ready to leave, you'll need to decide the type of housing that will suit you best. A big factor in making this decision will probably be your financial situation. The cost of running a home is rising all the time. Many young people decide to share with others at first as this will mean you can share the rent and bills. Seek advice before you decide and don't rush into anything.

There's a booklet available aimed at young people between the ages of 16 and 24. It provides information about what your options are if you want or need to leave home, including:

  • tenancies and rent payments   
  • living skills and the cost of living
  • what housing options are available for young people
  • homelessness explained

The following link opens in a new windowDownload the young person's guide to leaving home (pdf, 666kb).

If you're having problems at home

There is help and support available. Try to find someone you trust to talk to, such as friends, extended family such as an aunt or uncle, or a teacher at your school or college. If the situation becomes worse, see if there's a place you can go to for a night or two to let everyone cool down.

We may be able to provide mediation in your home with your family to talk about the problems. Remember, no matter how bad things may seem, if you leave home without preparation, you may find yourself in an even worse situation. You may also find it difficult to continue with your education.

You may also find our parental exclusion self help pack (docx, 105kb) useful. This can help you and the parent/s or family you live with by providing practical ideas to help you all to try and work out a solution so you don’t have to leave home.

Feel unsafe at home

If you have absolutely no choice and feel that you have to leave home immediately, for example because someone is being violent or abusive towards you, you must seek help right away.

There are a number of agencies who can assist you, including perhaps finding you a safe place to go. Some of these are listed below:

  • Childline: 0800 1111 free 24 hour support helpline for children and young people
  • Womens Aid: 0808 2000 247 free 24 hour helpline for victims of domestic violence
  • Shelterline: 0808 800 4444 free 24 hour helpline giving information on housing
  • Housing Solutions advice line: 020 7525 4140

For more information on domestic abuse against young people try the hideout.

If your relationship with your family has broken down because of your sexual orientation or gender identity

If you're feeling unsafe or are being excluded from your home due to coming out to family members, there are specific organisations who can provide support and possibly a safe place for you to go.

  • The Albert Kennedy Trust are a specialist organisation for members of the LGBTQ+ community who are aged 16-25 and struggling with a housing situation; their website has a live chat feature, details of how else to contact them and ways they could help you
  • Stonewall Housing provide advice about different housing related issues you may be experiencing
    • 020 7359 5767- the advice line is open weekdays between 10am and 1pm
    • Drop in sessions:
      Wednesday 2pm-3.30pm: Origin Housing, St Richards House, 110 Eversholt Street, London, NW1 1BS
      Friday 2pm-3.30pm: London Friend, 86 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DN

Other support you can get

There are lots of agencies which support young people with a range of issues including housing, jobs and career advice, finances, drug and alcohol issues, personal health and safety and much more.

Seeking support when you face important decisions will mean that you are less likely to do something on the spur of the moment which you later regret. Sharing others' experiences will also really help to prepare you for the unforeseen consequences of any actions you may take.

  • New Horizon Youth Centre is a day centre working with young people who are homeless, vulnerable or at risk. The centre is open 7 days a week to young people aged 16-21. Providing everything from hot food, showers and laundry to finding young people accommodation, training and employment, counselling, drug and alcohol support, health, fitness, art, music and communication skills workshops
    • Advice line: 0207 388 5560
    • Drop in: 10.30am – 4pm, 7 days a week at 68 Chalton St, London, NW1 1JR
  • Connexions (Southwark) education, employment, training and specialist advice (including housing issues). Contact 020 7358 2160
  • The Foyer Federation can offer accommodation combined with education/training support. Contact 020 7430 2212
  • Centrepoint provide a range of housing for homeless young people
  • Talk to Frank for advice and information on drugs and their effects
  • Southwark community safety (Safer Southwark Project) offer advice and information on personal safety
  • Victim Support offer advice and support to victims of crime 
  • Shelter offer advice and support relating to housing and homelessness
  • Southwark Healthy Young People (pdf, 103kb) offers different types of support around health, wellbeing, substance misuse and others for young people under 25

Page last updated: 21 November 2018