Homelessness

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Being homeless means not having a regular, secure home that you can feel safe and comfortable in. It can mean not having a roof over your head and having to sleep on the street.

It can also mean that you have nowhere to go and are staying with friends or in temporary accommodation such as a bed and breakfast hotel. So, you may have a roof over your head but you are still homeless. People in these circumstances are often called ‘hidden homeless people’.

There are many reasons why people become homeless. It can be that you have fallen out with your family, you are unable to remain in your housing because you can no longer afford it, left home because you suffered abuse or domestic violence or have been evicted. Whatever the reason, it is important to realise having nowhere permanent to live is not something to be ashamed of and there is help available. There are a number of organisations that can help you for free and in confidence to make sure you have somewhere safe to stay as soon as possible.

This section provides information on what to do if you become homeless and how to prevent homelessness.

Gov.UK – Emergency Housing for Homeless

Citizens Advice – Help for Homeless People

The Mix – Help, I am homeless

Shelter Cymru

Shelter Cymru Advice Surgeries in RCT

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council – Homelessness advice and support

Llamau

The Wallich

Meic Helpline – 0808 80 23456

Childline – 0800 1111

Samaritans – 116 123

Preventing Homelessness

If you think you might become homeless, it is crucial that you take action straight away. Seek advice immediately from an organisation – see below a list of organisations that can give you advice and guidance on homelessness.

Gov.UK – Emergency Housing for Homeless

Citizens Advice – Help for Homeless People

The Mix – Help, I am homeless

Shelter Cymru

Shelter Cymru Advice Surgeries in RCT

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council – Homelessness advice and support

Llamau

The Wallich

Meic Helpline – 0808 80 23456

Childline – 0800 1111

Samaritans – 116 123

If you are aged 16-25 years old, there are certain things you can do to prevent yourself becoming homeless. Your first step is to contact your local authority. Depending on your personal circumstances, the local authority might be able to find you accommodation.

If you are a ‘priority need’, the local authority may have a legal duty to house you. You are a priority need if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have dependent children who reside with you
  • Are aged 16 or 17 years old
  • Are a person under 21 who was looked after, accommodated or fostered between the ages of 16 and 18, but is not any longer
  • Are a person under 21 who is vulnerable as a result of being looked after, accommodated or fostered
  • Are homeless or threatened with homelessness as a result of an emergency, such as a flood or fire
  • Are vulnerable as a result of mental illness, physical disability or other special reason
  • Are a person formally serving in the regular Armed Services of the Crown who has been homeless since leaving those forces
  • Have been remanded in custody
  • Are vulnerable as a result of ceasing to occupy accommodation because of violence or threats of violence from another person

Remember, all young people are entitled to advice about homelessness and housing, but it is not a duty of the local authority to find you accommodation, unless you are classed as a ‘priority need’, as described above.

  • Don’t rely on other people to find you accommodation if you can help it. If possible, make long-term accommodation plans before you leave home to avoid homelessness
  • If you find yourself without anywhere to stay, you can try emergency hostels, but there is no guarantee there will be room for you. If you are a women escaping domestic violence, you can usually find a place at a women’s refuge but phone in advance to make sure you can be housed safely that night
  • If you are threatened with homelessness because of eviction, talk to the Citizens Advice Bureau who can offer you advice on your rights as a tenant

If you are thinking of leaving home because of a family argument or breakdown, think first. Many young people who do this can end up homeless. Visit our Leaving Home section for advice on resolving family problems and staying at home or call Llamau Mediation Services if you are worried about talking to your family yourself

Being homeless can be a frightening and dangerous experience so avoid it at all costs and always ask for help if you need it. There will always be someone who can offer you advice on what to do next.

Hostels And Supported Lodgings

If you are homeless, staying at a hostel or a supported lodging may be an option for you.

Hostels And Night Shelters

Although there are hostels and night shelters available to homeless people, they are usually full so getting a bed for the night can be difficult. They are usually run by the local authority, charities or housing associations. For information on a hostel or shelter near you, call Shelter Cymru for free on 0345 075 5005. Shelter Cymru do not run their own hostels or night shelters but can put you in touch with places in your area.

  • Some hostels or shelters run waiting lists because the demand is so high. It is a good idea to try and get your name put forward on the waiting list by an agency like Shelter Cymru or the local council to increase your chance of getting a place
  • Some will accept people on the door, but only if they have room for an extra person, and some only help certain groups of people, such as single young people, those with drug or alcohol problems, those with mental health problems or those most in need (been on the street the longest)
  • Night shelters are usually free of charge, but most hostels will ask for payment. Both offer food, although it might be at a charge in a hostel
  • Accommodation standards vary, but night shelters are usually very basic

Supported Lodgings

Supported lodging schemes put people who need a place to stay in touch with people who have a room to rent out. They are usually run by the local authority and can be cheaper than a hostel. Some householders will also provide you with meals as part of your rent, which you may be able to pay for from any benefits you are claiming

  • Supported lodgings are a good stop-off before you are ready to move into your own place, but the time you can stay in supported lodgings will vary depending on how long the room is available or how well you get on with the household
  • Staff from the supported lodgings scheme will be in touch with you throughout your stay to help you sort out benefits or any problems and help you find a permanent place to live
  • Not all local authorities have supported lodgings schemes, to find your nearest supported lodgings scheme, contact Shelter Cymru

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