Ask Sam letter


To Sam

hi sam I need you! DEAR SHELTER!

Dear Shelter,

I am 15 and im having problems at home, I need to leave and be on my own but I dont think I can leave home until im 16, I cant bare to be in this house for much longer things are getting really hard especially the arguing with my mums boyfriend and him constantly cheating on her. I feel constantly depressed and just cry, I even got a random nose bleed from the stress of it all :/

I told her I was leaving but I have nowhere to go to.. I also have a dog and I cant leave her here with them and I cant take her to someones home with me so im not sure what to do I have no friends or family they all live almost two hours away and I cant travel alone and I have no money.

would I not be able to get a flat or something at my age now with my friend who is 16? maybe even get child and housing benefit? please answer sam I really need you! I've been looking on the internet for shelters but id rather be in my own home/flat than in a shelter please help me, I have nowhere to go :( hopefully you can reply and thank-you for reading!

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for getting in touch. It sounds like you are feeling overwhelmed by how stressful things are at home particularly with your mum’s boyfriend. It’s important that you have a chance to be supported with that, so you might want to contact Childline or speak to your GP about how you feel. 

Deciding when to leave home and whether you will live on your own or share a flat with a friend - means you have a lot of things to think. You can’t hold a tenancy until you are 18 years old. Some landlords don’t allow tenants to keep pets. Also as you say, there is the issue of benefits, which can be complicated, and young people under 18 who are supported by social services are not entitled to claim benefits.

If things at home are getting you down and have not got better since you told your mum you wanted to leave, you can get an advocate to speak alongside you and go with you to social services. Social services can offer you mediation and talk to your mum to see if the problems at home can be resolved, so that you can stay with your mum. Alternatively, they could find you a safe place to live, while they work with you to sort out the problems at home. Given that you are only 15, they wouldn’t put you in a home on your own, but rather in a type of supported accommodation.

You can find more information and advice about this on the Shelter website. You could also call our free helpline on 0808 800 4444.

I hope this helps.


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