Leaving home is a major decision which should not be taken lightly.
Although leaving home will grant you more freedom, it also means you will have responsibilities that you have probably not had to deal with before.
- maintaining a tenancy
- budgeting and paying bills
If you are having problems at home
There is help and support available. Firstly try to find someone you trust to talk to, such as friends, extended family such as an aunt or uncle, or a teacher at your school or college. If the situation at home gets worse, see if there is a place you can go to for a night or two, sometimes a bit of distance gives everyone a chance to cool down.
One of our partners is Herts Young Homeless (HYH) an independent charity that works with vulnerable young people in Hertfordshire to prevent homelessness. They can provide you with information and advice and may be able to provide mediation for you and your family to talk about the problems.
Childline's website provides lots of information on family relationships and how to tackle individual problems.
If you have been asked to leave your home by your family or friends
Ask friends or other family members if they might give you a place to stay in the short-term while you sort yourself out which will give you time to get advice about what to do next.
If you are staying temporarily with extended family or friends, you are still homeless.
If you feel unsafe at home
If you feel you are in danger at home, for example because someone is being violent or abusive towards you, you must seek help right away.
Again try to find someone you trust to talk to, such as friends, extended family, or a teacher at your school or college.
Ask friends or family if they might give you a place to stay in the short-term while you sort yourself out and give you time to get advice about what to do next.
If you are in immediate danger of harm dial 999 and call for police assistance.
If you are homeless or need to leave your home for your safety and have nowhere else to stay
There are a number of agencies who can assist you, including perhaps finding you a safe place to go. Some of these are listed below:
- If you're 16-17 yrs old you can call Herts Children's Services on 0300 123 4043 day or night.
- Call our Housing Options Team at the council 01707 357 000 during in opening hours or for Out of Hours help contact 0800 111 4484.
- Call Shelterline on 0808 800 4444. They should be able to provide you with advice and if needed give you details of a local hostel. The police should also be able to help you with this information.
- Childline: 0800 1111 free 24 hour support helpline for children and young people.
- Herts Young Homeless (HYH) 16 - 17 years freephone 03003 230130 18 - 24 years freephone 08000 355 775.
- Womens Aid: 0808 2000 247 free 24 hour helpline for victims of domestic violence.
Leaving your parental home at a very young age, especially if you have nowhere to go, should be the very last option that you consider. Many young people who do, find themselves homeless.
It is important to know
You probably won't be entitled to a council home and you will most likely have to find a deposit and rent in advance for a home in the private sector.
From 1 April 2017, some 18 to 21 year olds claiming Universal Credit will not be entitled to help with housing costs in Universal Credit full service areas. GOV.UK provides more information about which 18-21 year olds can still get help with their housing costs.
Explore your options first
When you are ready to leave, you will need to decide the type of housing that will suit you best. A big factor in making this decision will probably be your financial situation. The cost of running a home is rising all the time. Many young people decide to share with others at first as this will mean you can share the rent and bills.
Seek advice before you decide and don't rush into anything.
Other support available
There are lots of agencies which support young people with a range of issues including housing, jobs and career advice, finances, drug and alcohol issues, personal health and safety and much more.
Seeking support when you face important decisions will mean that you are less likely to do something on the spur of the moment which you later regret. Sharing others' experiences will also really help to prepare you for the unforeseen consequences of any actions you may take.