Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Nowhere to live

I have a friend of about 2 years, whom I have become quite close to and she will often tell me if she has a problem and come to me for advice. I won't go into detail on her back story, but generally she has experienced almost every unpleasent situation you could as a child and young person. As a result of this she has not got good relationships with either of her parents, and although she lives with her dad currently, he plans to move away when she is 16 next year and she will have nowhere to go. I've told her that she needs to talk to someone (she used to have a support officer in school) but I don't know if she will, or even if she still has anyone to talk to who is in a postion to help. What can I do to support her and are there any charities or adults I can reccomend she speaks to?

NB: Before her dad moved here, she would sofa surf at friends' houses if she and her mum had had an argument.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter telling me about your friend.

From what you say it seems like your friend has a difficult home situation and that this is set to continue in the future. It seems likely she could become homeless at 16. One positive thing about it is that she has notice of what might happen and so can start to speak to people and to research options, as you have started to discuss with her. Encouraging her to talk to someone is a great idea. Some people might not want to talk about difficult situations at first so you might need to suggest this to her more than once.

I don't know a lot about her family situation but maybe your friend could consider if there is anyone else in her wider family network that she could live with if her dad moves away next year. If this is not possible then it might mean speaking to the local council and/or social services.

We have some information about leaving home at age 16+ on our Your rights page. We also have more information on our homelessness and running away page. You could also visit the Shelter website where there is a lot of information about leaving home and homelessness. This would be a very good website for you to suggest to your friend.

You could also suggest that your friend speaks to a ChildLine counsellor about her situation so that they can support her. She can talk to them by email, by calling for free on 0800 1111 or by logging on for a 1-2-1 chat.

It can be very difficult supporting a friend and I want you to know that you are doing a great job of caring for and helping your friend. We have some advice about supporting a friend which you might like to check out and I want you to know that ChildLine counsellors are there for you too.

Take care for now,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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