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Information and advice for young people in Suffolk


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Worried about becoming homeless?

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Homelessness means not having a permanent home. Although most young people don't end up sleeping on the street, not having a proper, stable roof over your head can cause all sorts of problems.

If you have nowhere to live, are sofa surfing, or crashing at your mates house it will be harder to get or keep a job, to carry on with your studies, and not having a secure place to stay has a big impact on your mental health and wellbeing, causing stress or depression.

Do something about it now

Don't wait until you get kicked out or are forced to leave, it's never too early to look for help. If you’re having problems at home, speak to someone now like a youth support worker or another adult that you trust.

You can also get help by calling the Customer First helpline on 0808 800 4005 (free from landlines and most mobiles) to speak to someone who can help you look at support for your situation. (Customer First have an Emergency Duty Service during evenings and weekends).

Living with a friend or someone who isn’t a close relative?

If you have been living with a friend’s family or someone other than your parents or close relatives for longer than 28 days, this could possibly become a 'private fostering' arrangement.

Private fostering - is when a young person under the age of 16 (under 18 with a disability), lives with and is looked after by someone other than their parents or close relatives. For more information, take a look at our page on private fostering.

In Suffolk, if you are aged 16 or 17 and you become homeless, you will be helped by workers from the County Council's Children and Young People's Services. They can also provide financial assistance, help with training and education, and support to help you tackle personal issues.

Housing in Suffolk is provided by the district and borough councils. Workers from the Suffolk County Council's Children and Young People's Services will work with you and the housing officers to find a solution to your problems. Find your local council.

  • What help can I expect? - Your worker will start by carrying out an assessment of your needs to help identify all the difficulties and issues that you're having. While this is happening if you have nowhere else to stay, they will sort out some accommodation. This could be a nightstop. Bed and breakfast accommodation isn't appropriate for young people. The law doesn't spell out exactly what help you can get, different councils have different rules. It will depend on your personal situation, what is available in your area, how much it costs and what you may be entitled to. Shelter website - nightstop schemes 

  • Will they listen to what I want? - Of course, it is important to take your wishes into account when deciding what kind of accommodation to offer you. However, that does not mean that you will get exactly you want. It's important to be realistic, as a lot will depend on what accommodation is available in your area.

  • They are offering me 'mediation', what's that about? - If things have become really difficult and that's the reason you want to leave, sometimes it can help if everyone talks about what's happening to an independent person. This is called mediation. In most cases, the workers supporting you will want to see whether it is possible for you to return home by sorting out the problems you may have with your parents or carers through mediation, before looking for alternative accommodation. Shelter website - mediation

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