Homelessness means not having a secure home, it isn’t just applied to someone sleeping rough on the streets, an individual or family can be homeless if they are temporarily staying with friends or family (sofa surfing), about to be evicted, living somewhere unsafe and unsuitable, or staying in a crisis shelter or refuge.
Every year thousands of young people run away from home. Each young person will have their own reason for doing so: arguments with family members, violence within the family, sexual or physical abuse, pregnancy, problems at school, and each young person will put themselves at risk of harm by running away. Running away isn’t usually planned which means that important things like money, warm clothing, phone numbers, or having an idea of safe places to go are forgotten about. This can put a young person at real risk of having to sleep on the streets where serious threats of abuse and violent attack are faced alongside cold and hunger, having no where to wash, or store belongings safely. Further risks are taken staying with people you don’t really know, or who you feel unsafe with.
In spite of these risks, for some young people running away from home seems the only way to stay safe. It isn’t. There are many agencies and charities that can help you find other solutions that you may not even know exist. Before running away please speak to a trusted family member, teacher, youth worker or Treads adviser, about your worries and problems. If you do not feel able to do this contact one of the charities listed below, all have confidential helplines that can provide a listening ear and good advice about keeping safe.
If you or your family have housing difficulties and/or are facing homelessness, please contact Treads for advice and information. Treads have links with Dorset Shelter and can arrange appointments with a Shelter adviser in our Blandford office. Alternatively take a look at some of the Housing and Homelessness websites listed below.
www.rerundorset.org – Award winning local charity supporting young runaways and those thinking of running away from home.
www.hyped.org.uk – Hyped is a local charity providing advice, support, and accomodation for homeless young people in Dorset and Oxford.
www.missingpeople.org.uk – Runs the Runaway Helpline a free and confidential service offering help and advice for runaways.
www.childline.org.uk – A good website covering homelessness and related issues
www.ymca.org.uk – A national charity with local outreach providing accomodation and support for homeless young people.
www.shelter.org.uk – A detailed website providing up to date advice on homelessness and housing rights. Follow the links to the young persons page for clear information about young people, homelessness, what to do and what the law states.