I'm homeless tonight; what should I do?

If you are homeless tonight and aged 16-17 years, contact us or the Safeguarding Hub straight away.

Andrew Kennedy (Carlisle and Eden) on 07855 408488

Emmie Sutherland (Barrow and South Lakes) on 07825 313726

Helen Walker (Allerdale and Copeland) on 07825 340628

Safeguarding Hub on 0333 240 1727.

We will talk to you about what is going on and concentrate on helping to find you somewhere safe to stay tonight.  This is called Nightstop.

If you are homeless tonight with nowhere else to go, Nightstop is the available emergency accommodation option for 16-24 year olds.  Get in touch with them directly or any professional person on the useful contacts list, who can refer you to Nightstop.

Contact Nightstop:

Sharon Jackson on 07958 447477

Jade Docherty on 07399 580459

It could be you just need a breather for tonight or you need somewhere to stay tonight until something can be arranged on a more permanent basis.  If your application to Nightstop is accepted, you will be placed with a volunteer host in their home where you will be provided with an evening meal, showering/washing facilities, a listening ear (if you feel like talking), a room to sleep in and breakfast in the morning.  You will also be provided with transport to the placement if required.

Before being accepted, you will have to answer some questions as part of a risk assessment to ensure the safety of you and the hosts.  Hosts may be single people, couples or families and have all been trained and DBS checked.  You can check out the host profiles here.  They are placed all over Cumbria so it may be you won't be placed within your own area and can last more than one night.

If you become homeless or are at risk of being homeless, you should first contact Children's Services' Safeguarding Hub on 0333 240 1727.  They cannot just turn you away, they have to look into your situation and see what help you are entitled to either from them or from other agencies which may be able to support you better and prevent you becoming homeless.  An assessment (asking you questions about your situation/finding out what is happening and what we can do to help) will be completed.  This will look at whether it's safe for you to be at home and what we might be able to help you with so that you can stay at home or return home.  We will also look at whether it might be better for you to stay with other family or friends.  If it is unsafe for you to go home, we will work with you to make sure you have the help or support you need and accommodation that is right for you.

If you find yourself homeless or are at risk of being homeless, you need to contact your local Housing Department (find their details on the useful contacts page for your area).  Anyone can make a homeless application if they are homeless or at risk of homelessness within 28 days.  The council has to investigate your homelessness situation - they have a legal duty to do this.  What help you get after the investigation will depend on your personal circumstances.

The investigation will start with interview with a Housing Officer and you can take someone with you to the interview if you would like.  You need to listen to any instructions the Housing Officer gives you and be clear what you need to take with you to the interview.  If you don't have the documents they need, this may slow everything down.

During your interview the Housing Officer should explain the application process clearly to you.  They'll also ask questions about your situation and how you became homeless.

The council may help you if you:

  • are homeless;

  • are eligible - as a UK citizen or someone who has the right to live in the UK;

  • are in priority need - for example if you have children, are elderly or disabled;

  • became homeless through no fault of your own;

  • have a connection to the area - otherwise it may try to send you elsewhere to be housed.

If the council decides you're homeless, eligible and in priority need it must:

  • offer you emergency accommodation while your application is being looked at;

  • protect your personal property if you're unable to do so yourself.

They may make a decision immediately or they may take longer to carry out a full assessment.

For help or advice if you are homeless or might become homeless please contact your local Council as early as possible and speak to one of their advisors.  Find details of your local Council office on the Useful Contacts page to discuss accommodation options advice.

You don't have to be sleeping on the streets to be classed as homeless, you could be staying with friends or with relatives, sofa surfing or staying with your boyfriend's or girlfriend's parents.  If you don't have a legal right to stay there, you are technically homeless

It's not a sleepover if you can't go home.

If you think you are going to be kicked out of home, evicted from your flat or it's not safe for you to stay where you are, get in touch!  This means that you are threatened with homelessness.

If you are being threatened with homelessness, please don't wait until you are actually kicked out, get in touch with someone as soon as possible and they will help.

Contact Children's Services Safeguarding Hub on 0333 240 1727 (if you are aged under 18) or the housing team at your local council (if you are aged 18+) immediately.  They may be able to prevent it from happening!  Go to useful contacts to get the housing team contacts for your area.