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 will 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.

From 1 April 2017, some 18 to 21 year olds claiming Universal Credit will not be entitled to help with housing costs in Universal Credit full service areas, which includes Southwark.

The GOV.UK website provides more information about which 18-21 year olds can still get help with their housing costs.

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

Explore your options first

When you are ready to leave, you will 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 is a booklet available aimed at young people between the ages of 16 and 24. It gives details of what your options are if you want or need to leave home. Information includes

  • 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 are 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 is 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.

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.

  • 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

Page last updated: 15 August 2017