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My Friend Is Homeless

Hi Sam

I am 16(male) and i have a friend who has been in my life since i can remeber 16(female). After years of Quarrals and Abuse her mum has kicked out of the house for the last time. Now she has no where to live has started college and is currently sofa-surfing between me and ofher friends houses. Her mum is adamant that she will not be allowed in her house and she is now on her own. Ovbiously this is a frgaile time for her, and places to stay out running out and fast. We have tried to contact the local council for housing but they have said she must be 18. To be completely honest she underplays the severity of the sutuation and must contact social services ro see if they can give her housing which she does not want to do, because of the risk they may take her little sister off of her mum. Please help, i dont want to lose my friend.

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Sam

Hi there,

Homelessness is a difficult experience, no matter what age you’re, but there is help available - especially if you're under 18. The law around what type of support your friend can get is not simple as it depends on a number of different things. I can't tell you exactly what will happen but I can give you a rough idea, as well as suggest places that can help.

Someone doesn't have to be living on the street to be considered "homeless". Sofa surfing or having a home that isn't safe might also mean someone is considered homeless. If a person under 18  is homeless then the local authority have to provide somewhere safe to live - but they may also try and make their home with their mum a safer place first.

Children's Services (often called social services) are a department of each local government who exist to keep children safe. This doesn't always mean taking people away from their homes - and in most cases they try hard to keep family together where possible. If it's not possible for your friend to be with their mum, they would first want to see if there’re other relatives they could live with.

If your friend is assessed as being "in need" by Children's Services and they have ruled out other options, then they have to provide somewhere to live. Even though you said you'd spoken to the local authority, it may have been the wrong department. Try searching for the children's services in your area to find how to contact them.

Your friend might benefit from some legal advice. They can get this free from Citizen's Advice, Children's Legal Centre or from Child Law Advice. Those services can give you more specific answers than we could, but we are here to help you and your friend get the right support so our counsellors are happy to talk about this as well.

I hope this has helped, thanks for writing to me.

Take care.

Sam

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