I'm homeless tonight; what should I do?

If you are homeless tonight and aged 16 to 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.

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
  • staying with your boyfriend's or girlfriend's parents
  • squatting
  • at risk of violence or abuse at home
  • living in poor conditions that affect your health
  • 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.

As long as it is safe, you are generally better off living at home or within your family and planning when to move.  Homelessness (leaving home in an unplanned way with nowhere to go) at a young age, should be avoided wherever possible.  Living alone at an early age can be lonely and stressful, so think twice!  Plan ahead and don't leave in a hurry.

If you really are not able to stay at home safely, if you are in danger or you simply don't know what to do then please do contact us.

Emmie Sutherland (Barrow and South Lakes) on 07825 313726

Helen Walker (Allerdale and Copeland) on 07825 340628

Andrew Kennedy (Carlisle and Eden) on 07855 408488

For emergencies and out of hours contacts (e.g. weekends and evenings) contact the Safeguarding Hub on 0333 2401727.

If you are 16 or 17 years of age, with nowhere to stay and in need of some help to look at your options, you should contact a Youth Homeless and Housing Officer.  They will be able to give you some advice and let you know what support is available.  Their contact details are:

Barrow and South Lakes
Emmie Sutherland
contact number:  07825 313726
Email: emmie.sutherland@cumbria.gov.uk 

Carlisle and Eden
Andrew Kennedy
Contact Number: 07855 408488
Email: andrew.kennedy@cumbria.gov.uk 

Allerdale and Copeland
Helen Walker
contact number 07825 340628
Email: helen.walker@cumbria.gov.uk 

There are certain processes we need to follow to make sure you are getting the right support; this could include talking to your family and friends before making any big decisions about where you are going to live.

We are interested in hearing about your story and understanding whether you need additional support outside of your family and friends.  In order to do this, we will need to complete some assessments to get to know you better.

One of these assessments may be completed by a social worker, throughout this process you can be supported by a Youth Homeless and Housing Officer. 

One of the first things you will be asked is whether you have anywhere to stay tonight, if you don't we are responsible by law to ensure you have a safe place to sleep.  If you do have somewhere to stay tonight but you are worried about where you are living or that it might not be for the long-term, we can still offer you support and this will be when a social worker till do an assessment to help make sure you have a safe place to live.  

You will be given the option to come into local authority care.  Your social worker will explain more about this to you when they meet with you and they will answer any of your questions.  

If you don't wish to come into local authority care, we will still make sure you have somewhere to stay.  This might mean you stay in supported accommodation and this would mean living in one of the schemes run by Impact or Project John.  We will work with you to ensure that you have somewhere to live in the longer term and help you develop the skills you need to succeed at living independently.

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.

If you are homeless tonight with nowhere else to go, Nightstop is the available emergency accommodation option for 16 to 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

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.  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.