Young & Homeless 2018

Young people with experiences of homelessness are one of the most vulnerable groups in society and continue to make up approximately half of the people accessing homelessness services in England. For the past seven years, Homeless Link’s national study on youth homelessness has provided crucial evidence to inform policy and practice. This sixth edition explores key trends in youth homelessness and the availability and nature of accommodation options and support.

This report outlines the findings from surveys with 188 homelessness services and local authorities across England and in-depth interviews with 25 young people who have experienced homelessness. The report explores the nature and causes of youth homelessness, the available support and best practice, and provides critical evidence to inform local and national government responses. It includes findings on several underresearched areas, such as factors affecting family relationship breakdown, mediation services, and young women’s experiences.

The findings featured in this report are based on three key data sources:

  1. A self-completed online survey from 109 homelessness service providers and 79 local authorities18 An online survey was sent to 682 homelessness service providers19 and 353 local authorities throughout England, requesting statistical information on young people accessing their services, and their professional opinion on the nature and impact of current trends over the past year (September 2016–August 2017).20 81% of homelessness service providers responded in relation to a specific service, 19% responded on behalf of a whole organisation. Data was analysed using Excel and the open text comments were thematically analysed and used as supporting evidence.
  2. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups with 25 young people with experiences of homelessness 17 semi-structured interviews and two focus groups with young people at three organisations who participated in the research, provided further insight into topics addressed in the survey. The organisations all provide supported accommodation to young people and are located in three different regions in England. The interview questions were designed in collaboration with the St Basils National Youth Voice (see below).
  3. Four case studies of best practice The case studies highlight effective services across the country that are making a difference for young people, with a focus on promoting positive practice and encouraging other services to learn from them. Information was gathered through documentary evidence, service visits and telephone interviews with staff.
Publication Date: 
Homeless Link
Comic Relief
United Kingdom