Young people and homelessness

Coram Voice has published The Door is Closed, a report into homelessness among children and young people known to children’s social care.

Key points include that:

  • Failure by local authorities to comply with their legal duties to protect teenagers is leaving this vulnerable group homeless and at risk from abuse;
  • Under the Children Act, local authority Children’s Services have an obligation to assess any child who presents as homeless or at risk of immediate homelessness. The child should be accommodated while the assessment is being carried out and, in most cases, should then be taken into care, however this is often not the case;
  • Children can be passed to the local authority housing department which may house them in hostels for vulnerable adults without any of the additional support needed by children in care; and
  • Child and youth homelessness tends to be considered simply as a lack of housing, rather than a situation of high risk that can significantly undermine children’s personal development, physical and mental health, and have lasting detrimental impacts on their life chances.

For further information visit

The Railway Children has published Reaching Safe Places, a report exploring the journeys of young people who run away from home or care.

Key points include that:

  • A number of local authorities said that going missing was not of itself a reason to accommodate a young people;
  • 71 local authorities had not provided any accommodation to any young people under 16 in an emergency in 2013/14 as a result of going missing and 39 had done so;
  • The lack of refuge provision means that most young people under 16 will be reliant on the local authority to provide emergency accommodation when needed;
  • Workers identified four of the top five places where young people went when running away as behind closed doors, including houses of friends, family, acquaintances and parties;
  • Young people behind closed doors will not be visible to police or outreach workers, presenting challenges to service provision;
  • Workers reported that they struggled to find safe places for young people because of a reduction in services, funding cuts and high thresholds for intervention;
  • Workers reported the services they most struggled to access were suitable accommodation, counselling or CAMHS, and social care; and
  • Workers felt that there were significant differences in the service received by 16 to 17 year olds as compared to under 16s.

To download the full report visit